Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame Inducts Class of 2023 Saturday
At Rhodes-On-The-Pawtuxet in Cranston Saturday, the Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame honoring its Class of 2023 inductees and award winners.
John Hynes is a Warwick native. He played his high school hockey at Toll Gate and was 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 Team USA to three medals at IIHF World Championship tournaments. 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 over his career, which included three NHL seasons with the Rangers and 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 Harrisville, attended his hometown high school and starred 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 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 title 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.
The son of legendary RI Reds trainer, George Army, Tom starred as a player at both LaSalle Academy and Hope High School. In 1952, he would become instrumental in the rebirth of Providence College hockey as co-captain of their first varsity team in 26 years. With the construction of the Dudley Richards Arena in 1969, he founded the East Providence Hockey Association, which became the feeder program for the town’s powerful high school teams, headed by his sons Tom, Jr., Bill and Tim, along with the Wilson brothers, Ron, Brad and Randy. Before his retirement in 2021, he served 28 years as official scorer and supervisor of off-ice officials for the Providence Bruins