(Providence, RI) The names of five local hockey greats who represent the RI Hockey Hall of Fame’s “Class of 2023” were unveiled during its annual Hall of Fame Game on February 24th at the Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence.
Vin Cimini, founding chairman of the Hall, performed the ceremonial puck drop prior to the annual RI Hockey Hall of Fame game, which saw formal portraits of the five new inductees-elect displayed on the AMP’s Jumbotron between the 1st & 2nd periods.
Cimini, along with Board members Mal Goldenberg and Ray Morgan, lauded the careers and contributions of the class and “the honor they have brought to themselves, their families, their schools, and their state.” With their formal inductions in August, the number of honorees in the Hall will reach 45.
The Enshrinement Celebration & Dinner for the 2023 Class will be held on Saturday, August 19th at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet in Cranston. Tickets are now on sale on the the Hall of Fame’s website – RIHHOF.com
The “Class of 2023” inductees-elect are:
John Hynes is a Warwick native. He played his hockey at Toll Gate High School and was then a member of the Boston University team that captured the 1995 NCAA title in Providence. Before becoming head coach of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils in 2015, he served as head coach of Team USA at the 2008 IIHF Junior World Championships. John then became head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton affiliate in the AHL, where he captured the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the league’s top coach. He now serves as head coach of the NHL’s Nashville Predators.
Jeff is a native of North Smithfield. He earned All-State honors at Mount St. Charles and was a 2-time NCAA All-American and Academic All-American at the University of Michigan, where he won numerous awards before being selected in the first round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks. Jeff represented his country as a member of Team USA in three world championships before his first professional season with the Sharks. Over his 11-year pro career, the rugged defenseman suited up in the NHL with the Sharks, Buffalo Sabres, and Boston Bruins. He played four seasons in the American Hockey League, including one with our Providence Bruins in 2003.
Born and raised in East Greenwich, Steve was a 2-time All-Stater at Bishop Hendricken High School before starring at Brown University. He was selected as the New York Rangers’ first choice in the 1991 NHL Supplemental Draft. The speedy right winger scored over 250 goals during his career, which included three NHL seasons with the Rangers, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and eight in the AHL, including one with the Providence Bruins, where he came out of retirement just before the playoffs in 1999 and became a key figure as the P-Bruins captured the Calder Cup Championship.
Babe was born in Burrillville, attended his hometown high school and starring on the gridiron and the ice for the legendary Tom Eccleston before attending St. Bonaventure University. Babe took over the Burrillville coaching reigns in 1957. He coached the Broncos for 18 seasons, becoming a legendary coach in his own right. During that period, his teams never missed the playoffs. They won 7 state championships, capturing the state hockey crown in the decades of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. His 1959 Burrillville team was the first RI squad to win a New England interscholastic hockey title. During his tenure, Babe would guide them to four more, tied for most ever.
The great Bill Thayer was born and raised in Warwick. A 3-time, 3-sport All-Stater at Aldrich High School, he was one of the finest all-around athletes of his generation. In 1943 he became the first native Rhode Islander to play with the RI Reds and then skated with the Boston Olympics. Bill helped lead the RI Scarlets to the USA Amateur Senior Championship in 1948 before starring with Team USA at the 1949 World Championships in Europe. Nicknamed “Playmaker”, he became a revered youth hockey coach after retirement. Each year since 1965, the Thayer Award is presented to the Interscholastic League’s assists leader. In 1970, after his passing in a construction accident, the Warwick Municipal Arena was dedicated in his name.