Transcript of Jan 23, 2018 Press Conference Remarks by Hall of Fame Chairman, Vincent Cimini.
On January 19, 1898, Rhode Island’s rich and colorful history of organized hockey officially began when seven skaters, four born and raised in Rhode Island, led Brown University to a 6-0 win over Harvard in the very first intercollegiate hockey game played in the United States.
Today, 120 years later, it is my great privilege as its chairman to announce the establishment of the RI Hockey Hall of Fame, an organization and memorial created to commemorate, celebrate, and preserve Rhode Island’s illustrious hockey history.
The singular mission of the Hall of Fame will be to recognize and pay tribute to those Rhode Island hockey heroes whose achievement, leadership and contributions to our game both here and on the world stage have brought great distinction to themselves, their teams, their country, and our state.
The RI Hockey Hall of Fame is a collaboration of RI Hockey, the local arm of USA Hockey, the governing body of organized amateur hockey in the United States, and the RI Reds Heritage Society, preservationist of the professional team that for 51 years so profoundly influenced the popularity and growth of hockey in our state.
Over six generations, the puck and the passion for this great game has been passed from father to son and, now, from mother to daughter. We believe that the best of those who have played it, served it and distinguished themselves in doing so should be honored with their achievements preserved so that they may continue to inspire and pave the way for present and future generations of young men and women who dream of reaching the highest heights of our great game.
We say “our” great game, because of all the major sports in the modern era, our state has produced and contributed more players, coaches and executives to the highest levels of the game of hockey than to any other sport. Our belief is that hockey is not simply a sport in Rhode Island. It is an integral part of our state’s shared heritage and culture.
Our non-profit organization quietly began our work sixteen months ago. Our Board of Directors comprises nine dedicated volunteer individuals with direct and longtime connection to professional and organized amateur hockey in RI.
Our Board’s primary purpose has been to establish criteria for induction, create a database and profiles of what are now nearly 200 qualifying candidates, and to present an annual list of nominees to a Selection Committee for its impartial evaluations and selections.
Our Selection Committee is made up of nine highly qualified and respected individuals – sports and hockey historians, hockey writers, broadcast journalists, and sports executives – each carefully chosen for their expertise, local hockey knowledge, integrity, and impartiality.
Our inaugural enshrinement ceremonies will be held in eight months – on September 20th, at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln. Our charter class of inductees will be announced on March 1st.
Initially, inductees will be showcased in a virtual Hall of Fame, located on our website, www.RIHHOF.com.
With the cooperation and financial support of individuals, businesses, and local institutions, it is our objective to expand this memorial to include a public Wall of Fame, a perpetual and expanding tribute to our local hockey legends. Eventually, it is our goal to create a museum exhibit to showcase our state’s rich and illustrious hockey history and to develop charitable programs to expand the opportunities for young Rhode Islanders to play the game, enjoy our game, and, hopefully, one day make history for themselves.