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Former Pens player, current coach Guerin named to U.S. hall

| Thursday, July 25, 2013, 9:18 a.m.
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Former Penguins player Bill Guerin attends the second day of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft on June 23, 2012, at Consol Energy Center.

Penguins fans will remember Bill Guerin as a fan favorite who helped a young team win a Stanley Cup in the final chapter of his career.

He played an even bigger role in the blossoming of American hockey, and he will be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, Minn., later this year for his accomplishments. A date for the ceremony has yet to be determined.

“This is a very humbling experience for me,” said Guerin, a former forward.

Guerin scored 429 goals in 18 NHL seasons. He was part of a generation of players who helped the United States close the gap with traditional hockey nations such as Canada and Russia.

Inspired by the Miracle on Ice, Guerin joined the likes of fellow inductee Doug Weight, Chris Chelios and Mike Modano to put American hockey on the map.

Guerin and Weight agreed that Team USA's upset of the Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics propelled a generation of American players to new heights.

“It's something that we're all very proud of,” Weight said.

Guerin said the proudest moments of his career were his Stanley Cup championships — with New Jersey in 1995 and the Penguins in 2009 — and claiming a silver medal at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. The four-time NHL All-Star also was part of the 1996 team that defeated Canada to win the 1996 World Championship.

Despite never having won Olympic gold, Guerin said he felt pride in Utah by seeing how far American hockey had come.

“To play on our soil and (win) a silver medal is something I cherish,” he said. “It was tough to lose to Canada that day, but I can look on my mantel and see a silver medal. I'm very proud of that.”

Guerin marvels at how the game's popularity has grown in the United States.

“This is an area of the country where I feel like the game is growing like crazy,” he said. “The popularity of this sport in Pittsburgh has grown incredibly. It's nice to be around.”

The other 2013 inductees include Weight, Cindy Curley, Peter Karmanos and Ron Mason.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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