Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Congrats Herb

The first article is from the Minneapolis Star Tribune and is Dan Brooks' speech at his father's induction ceremony. The second is from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, talking about reactions to the induction. You deserve it Herb!

Dan Brooks accepts Hall honor for Herb Brooks


Herb Brooks was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night in Toronto along with Patrick Roy, Dick Duff and Harley Hotchkiss. This is the text of the speech Herb's son Dan was scheduled to deliver at the ceremony.

Last update: November 13, 2006 – 7:59 PM

TORONTO — If Herb Brooks could reflect on what his induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame meant to him, his son Dan said Monday, he would not think about the Miracle on Ice gold medal, the three national championships with the University of Minnesota or any of his victories as a coach in the NHL.

Instead, he would think about his predecessor as coach of the Gophers, John Mariucci, another native son of Minnesota.

"I think he would be very humbled because he's going to be in the hall with his mentor, John Mariucci," Dan Brooks said. "In talking with a lot of his players, both on the University of Minnesota team and the Olympic team, they used to say, 'Your dad really took a lot of those things that he did from John Mariucci.'

"I know the first thing my dad would have brought up is he's here with the legendary John Mariucci."

Herb Brooks, who died in a car accident at the age of 66 in 2003, had an equal claim on the adjective "legendary." His greatest accomplishment, the one that secured his place in the Hall of Fame, was coaching an underdog U.S. team of college students to the 1980 Olympic gold medal, defeating the Big Red Machine of the former Soviet Union along the way.

Brooks on Monday night was inducted as a builder in the Hall of Fame. Going in with him as a builder was Harley Hotchkiss, the part-owner of the Calgary Flames and the chairman of the NHL's Board of Governors. Two former players were inducted: goaltender Patrick Roy, who won four Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche, and winger Dick Duff, who starred for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Canadiens in the 1950s and 1960s.

Walter Bush, the longtime chairman of USA Hockey, said Herb Brooks gave the game a huge boost at the grassroots level with the Olympic victory.

"Probably his greatest contribution was taking a bunch of college kids, who were pretty fair hockey players but were pretty young, and molding them into this great victory," Bush said at the induction ceremony. "It spurred a lot of kids into playing.

"Herb was a tremendous visionary. While he was in Europe on seven or eight national teams and two Olympic teams (as a player), he saw how the other part of the world played hockey. He took a lot of that and brought it back to our country."

The funny thing, Dan Brooks said, was that even though the Miracle on Ice was regarded as a great moment in hockey and other sports circles, it was fading in the eyes of the public until the movie "Miracle," starring Kurt Russell, came out in 2004.

"I remember they had the 10-year anniversary of the 1980 team in 1990," he said. "We had a barbeque in my backyard. My dad cooked hot dogs, and we had a keg of beer. Over 10 years after that, they made the movie 'Miracle,' and these guys were ushered around in limousines.

"I scratched my head, saying this was incredible."

Herb Brooks was never able to duplicate his amateur success in the NHL. He coached four teams, most notably the New York Rangers from 1981 to 1985, but finished his NHL career with a regular-season record of 219-221-66.

"It was tough in the early days with the Rangers," Dan Brooks said. "They would beat either Washington or Philly in the first round, and then lose these great battles with the Islanders in the second round.

"Yeah, I think it bothered him. He wanted to win the Cup."

The problem for Brooks was that NHL players were not as malleable as college kids.

"I think he excelled the best when he had total control," his son said. "In 1980 he had total control over everything, from who played to where they stayed to how they traveled. I think he had a tough time with the pro mentality. That was a challenge for him.

"Wherever he coached it seemed there was always one guy he had battles with. He liked the mentality of the amateur player."

Brooks was known as a severe taskmaster to his players; they tended not to like him until they no longer played for him. But he had his softer moments. After all, he had to put up with years of teasing about the first movie about the 1980 Olympic team.

Dan Brooks, 39, a financial adviser in Minneapolis, was appointed the family spokesman by his mother, Patti, when his father was announced as an inductee. Dan Brooks attended all of the functions in his father's place over the weekend and made the induction speech Monday night.

During his speech, Dan Brooks said his father marched to his own drummer. He quit as coach of an NHL team when management refused to fire a player he believed was a cancer on the team. Late in his life, Brooks declined an offer from New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather to rejoin his old team as coach.

Brooks was haunted by the time he took away from his family through most of his career and wanted to give his grandchildren what he had denied his children, Dan and Kelly: his time.

"How about turning down a dream job to be reunited with the New York Rangers in order to spend time with five preschoolers, his grandchildren?" Dan Brooks said .

Dan accepted the Hall of Fame ring Monday morning at a news conference. He said it would go on public display "in the state of Minnesota."

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