NCAA men’s hockey standouts Brian Gionta (Boston College) and Tim Thomas (Vermont) are heading to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
USA Hockey announced that Gionta and Thomas will join Gary Bettman, Neal Henderson and Krissy Wendell to be enshrined into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as the Class of 2019. The induction ceremony will be held Dec. 12 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington D.C.
“It’s truly a remarkable Class,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. “Each of the five inductees have their own unique and immeasurable contribution to our great game. They’re extremely deserving of the highest hockey honor in our country and we look forward to formally enshrining them into the Hall in December.”
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) September 4, 2019
Here’s a look at the careers of both Gionta and Thomas:
ABOUT BRIAN GIONTA
Brian Gionta (Rochester, N.Y.) capped off a storied career that most hockey players can only dream of in 2018. An exceptional skater at every level, Gionta, who was drafted 82nd overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 1998 NHL Draft, enjoyed 16 seasons in the National Hockey League. During his time at the game’s highest level, he captured the Stanley Cup as a member of the Devils in 2003, served as captain of both the Montreal Canadiens and his hometown team, the Buffalo Sabres, and in 2017 became just the 43rd American to skate in over 1,000 NHL games.
Amassing 595 points, including 291 goals and 304 assists in 1,026 regular-season contests from 2001 to 2018, Gionta ranks 43rd among American-born skaters all-time in points. A testament to his offensive prowess, Gionta hit double-digit goal totals in 13 of his 17 seasons and maintains the New Jersey Devils record for most goals in a single season to this day after tallying 48 times during the 2005-06 campaign.
On the international stage, Gionta represented Team USA on nine different occasions, including both the 2006 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Team captain in the latter year, Gionta led Team USA in goal-scoring with four tallies in six contests during the 2006 tournament. In addition, Gionta skated in the 1996 Pacific Cup as a member of the U.S. Men’s Under-18 Select Team, both the 1998 and 1999 IIHF World Junior Championships, three IIHF Men’s World Championships (2000, 2001, 2005) and the 2017 Deutschland Cup. In 54 international appearances, Gionta amassed 38 points, including 24 goals and 14 assists.
A four-year standout at Boston College (1997-2001), Gionta kickstarted his collegiate career with a 62-point scoring effort in 40 games, earning Hockey East’s Rookie of the Year award and a place on the Hockey East All-Rookie Team during the 1997-98 season. In each of his final three seasons, Gionta led the Eagles in goal-scoring, ranked among the top two in points, and was named a Hockey East First Team All-Star, an NCAA First Team All-American and Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist. Gionta rounded out his collegiate career with an NCAA national championship in 2001, captaining Boston College to its second national title in program history and first since 1949. The all-time leading goal scorer in program history, Gionta, who helped the Eagles to four straight Frozen Four appearances, finished his BC career with 232 points, including 123 goals and 109 assists in 164 games played.
ABOUT TIM THOMAS
Tim Thomas (Flint, Mich.) spent nine successful seasons in the NHL, many of those star-studded with milestones and accolades. Selected 217th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 NHL Draft, Thomas played the majority of his career with the Boston Bruins, and was integral in the Bruins’ 2010-11 playoff run that culminated in a Stanley Cup. At age 37, Thomas became just the second American and the oldest player to receive the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the 2011 playoffs. A two-time Vezina Trophy recipient, Thomas finished his NHL career with 214 wins and a .920 all-time save percentage in 426 games.
Before reaching hockey’s grandest stage, Thomas’ winding path to the NHL began with a four-year stint (1993-97) at the University of Vermont, where he recorded an 81-43-15 career record with a 2.70 goals against average and .914 save percentage. He helped UVM to NCAA tournament appearances in his final two seasons, including the program’s first-ever berth in the NCAA Frozen Four in 1996, a year in which he led the nation in save percentage at .924. Thomas, who today is Vermont’s all-time career leader in games played (140), wins (81) and saves (3,950), was both a two-time All-ECAC and All-America selection during his collegiate career.
After capping off his collegiate career with a strong senior season, Thomas took his talents overseas to the Finnish Elite League where in his first season he was named to the all-star team and received the Urop Ylonen Award, significant of the league’s top goaltender, after leading HIFK to the league championship. Following short stints in the International Hockey League, Swedish Hockey League and American Hockey League, Thomas made the NHL his permanent home at the start of the 2005-06 season. In addition to winning the Stanley Cup and the Vezina Trophy in both 2009 and 2011, Thomas was a four-time NHL All-Star and recipient of the William M. Jennings Trophy. Following his storybook tenure in Boston, Thomas split time between the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars before retiring from the league following the 2013-14 season.
On the international stage, Thomas represented the U.S. on eight occasions, including in seven world championships (1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2008, 2014) and also in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. He officially hung up his skates after backstopping Team USA in eight games at the 2014 IIHF Men’s World Championship.
Player profiles courtesy of USA Hockey.