Fort Dupont Coach Neal Henderson to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame – The Washington Post

Fort Dupont Coach Neal Henderson to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame - The Washington Post
Ex-Bruins goalie Tim Thomas breaks years-long silence
Retired NHL goaltender Tim Thomas broke a years-long public silence Wednesday after being named as part of the United States Hockey Hall of Fames class of 2019.

The mercurial Thomas, who led the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 2011 and made headlines for refusing to visit then-President Barack Obama at the White House, has avoided the spotlight since walking away from hockey in 2014. Thomas was short on details about what he has been up to since his playing days ended but dropped some hints about how far he has separated himself from his past life.

Known as the Cannons, Hendersons developmental program is designed to provide local and inner-city youth skaters with the opportunity to both learn the game of hockey and participate in an organized league. The oldest minority hockey club in North America, Fort Dupont offers young hockey enthusiasts aged 8-to-18 a chance to hone their skills as hockey players while also using the sport to establish a sense of community, self-esteem and purpose. Since its inception, Hendersons league has successfully established hockey as a medium to build character, teach life skills and instill positive values in thousands of youth skaters in the D.C. area. Henderson also uses the club to provide players the chance to explore new cities and attend college visits while traveling for games.

“Everybody probably knows nowadays I dont actually have all that much to say, at least publicly,” Thomas said on a conference call with reporters. “Obviously Ive decided to keep what Ive been doing with my life and learning to myself at this point, for sure, and probably forever.”

“Neal Henderson is a pioneer in hockey in the Washington and Baltimore communities,” Leonsis wrote. “We are fortunate to have an advocate for hockey such as Henderson who consistently brings joy to the sport while sharing his wealth of knowledge with kids. Hendersons work with Fort Dupont Ice Arena and D.C.s minority hockey programs is a vibrant part of our community and he is a true ambassador for the sport of hockey. Moreover, with USA Hockeys selection of Washington, D.C., as the host city for the 2019 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction celebration event, we are thrilled to celebrate Hendersons achievements in the community he has so greatly impacted.”

Former Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas to be inducted into US Hockey Hall of Fame

Thomas, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, longtime NHL forward Brian Gionta, Washington youth hockey staple Neal Henderson and U.S womens star Krissy Wendell will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame at a ceremony in the nations capital Dec. 12.

Over the last 40 years, Henderson has dedicated his life to growing the game of hockey in D.C. through his Fort Dupont program. Based out of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, the development program provides access to local and inner-city youth hockey players to an organized league, and has the distinction of being the oldest minority hockey club in North America. Henderson was also a finalist for the inaugural Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award in 2018, and provided the foundations for the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone program.

Former Bruins Tim Thomas voted to US Hockey Hall of Fame

Thomas eight years ago became the oldest player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP and is a Boston sports hero for his role in the Bruins first championship since 1972. He said last seasons playoffs were the first he had watched since retiring because the Bruins were doing so well. He brushed off the idea of returning to his old home arena.

“With the state of my nervous system since I retired, I wouldnt be able to hardly handle the energy of the crowd in Boston,” Thomas said. “So it isnt as simple as it may seem. Having said that, you never know what the future may hold. Im just taking life as it goes.”

For the last 40-plus years, Neal Henderson (Upper Marlboro, Md.) has dedicated his life to spreading the game of hockey and using the sport to provide lifelong lessons to youth in America. A natural mentor, Henderson noticed a greater demand for organized hockey in his home of Washington D.C. in the late 1970s. Soon, Henderson starting renting ice time at the local Fort Dupont Ice Arena to accommodate players, and in 1978, he co-founded the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club in the D.C. area.

Thomas revealed that his daughter this week landed an internship with the Bruins and emphasized she earned it. Asked about that being a gateway to getting him back involved in the game, the 45-year-old said he highly doubts that will happen.

3:10 28 questions with Washington Spirit defender Megan Crosson 0:46 Loudoun South LL gets the VIP treatment from the Nationals 1:38 Redskins Inside Look: Each RB can have a big impact 3:05 Pro Pets: Rob Carlin and family with Bella 0:21 Caricature artist draws Trace McSorley For over 40 years, Neal Henderson has become an ice hockey icon in Washington D.C., founding the Fort Dupont Cannons at the Fort Dupont Ice Arena in 1978.

“I just dont see it,” Thomas said. “I have other interests. I have a totally other focus. I live in a totally different world than the hockey world that I lived in before. I live a long ways away from Boston, and its not that fun for me to travel anymore. It isnt anything to do with the Boston Bruins or the Boston fans, especially. My goodness, they loved the crap out of me when I was there to the point where it was hard to handle.”

Washington hockey icon Neal Henderson to be inducted into US Hockey Hall of Fame

A two-time Vezina Trophy winner as the leagues top goalie, Thomas sounds comfortable remaining at a distance from hockey.

“We are fortunate to have an advocate for hockey such as Henderson who consistently brings joy to the sport while sharing his wealth of knowledge with kids. Hendersons work with Fort Dupont Ice Arena and D.C.s minority hockey programs is a vibrant part of our community and he is a true ambassador for the sport of hockey.”

Brian Gionta Selected to U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

“I dont personally have any relationship with the game,” he said. “My focus and mind is on learning about other stuff. I learned so much about hockey and that area. I feel like Ive learned as much as I needed to learn about it. My focus is on learning about other stuff.”

Tim Thomas Breaks Years-Long Silence After U.S. Hockey Hall Of Fame Nod

Bettman, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto last year, oversaw the growth of the NHL from 24 to 31 teams with a 32nd coming in 2021. The New York native spearheaded much of the expansion of hockey into so-called nontraditional U.S. markets.

Neal Henderson is a pioneer in hockey in the Washington and Baltimore communities,” Capitals Partner and CEO Ted Leonsis stated in a press release.

Gionta put up 595 points in 16 NHL seasons and won the Cup with New Jersey in 2003. He represented the U.S. in the 2006 and 2018 Olympics.

During his career in the NHL, Gionta won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003. He represented his country in the Winter Olympic Games two times, in 2006 and 2018, the latter as team captain. Gionta is also 43rd all time in points amongst American-born skaters with 595 (291 goals and 304 assists).

Former Sabres captain Brian Gionta selected for U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Henderson in 1978 co-founded the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, the oldest minority hockey club in North America, and was part of the NHLs launch of its “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative.

Wendell won two NCAA titles at Minnesota and ranks fourth all-time with 2.35 points a game. She put up 247 points in 147 international games, was the MVP of the 2005 world championships when the U.S. won gold for the first time and served as captain at the 2006 Olympics.

The U.S. Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will occur on December 12 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington.

Controversial former NHL star Tim Thomas offered his first public comments in several years on Wednesday, after being named to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

“Everybody probably knows nowadays I dont have that much to say, at least publicly,” said Thomas, the former Boston Bruins goalie who stepped away from public life after his final NHL season in 2013-14. “Ive decided to keep whatever Ive been doing in my life to myself, probably forever.”


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