The United States Hockey Hall of Fame announced the class of 2009 today. Tony Amonte, John Leclair, Tom Barrasso, Frank Zamboni and the 1998 Women's gold medal Olympic hockey team will all be enshrined later this year at a date yet to be determined.
Barrasso's inclusion should come as no surprise. The surprise I have is that he hasn't garnered more support from the Hockey Hall of Fame people in Toronto. He had a reputation as a grump, but his hockey resume is very impressive.
In fact, I have no qualms with any of these choices. They all meet the Hall's long standing induction guidelines based on "ccomplishments in the game of hockey, sportsmanship, character, contributions to their team(s) or organization(s) and contributions to the game of hockey in general."
That being said, until the past few seasons Hall inclusion was seemingly guaranteed for any NHL hockey player who was born in the United States, and many players who starred at the collegiate and amateur levels. Inductees were rarely elite hockey stars, but undisputed builders of the game in America.
It is nice to see the US Hockey Hall of Fame now has real candidates to choose from.