Now two full seasons after retiring as an Islander, Doug Weight continues to pile up the accolades.
USA Hockey announced Thursday that the Islanders Assistant Coach and Senior Advisor to the General Manager was selected as one of five new inductees to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2013 class also includes another former Islander captain, Bill Guerin, as well as Carolina Hurricanes Owner and CEO Peter Karmanos, long-time collegiate coach Ron Mason and women’s hockey pioneer Cindy Curley.
“Ever since watching the 1980 (gold medal-winning) team, I’ve been so proud and so excited to wear the USA jersey,” Weight said. “It’s just an incredible honor. This is the greatest game in the world and I was very blessed to play with so many great players and play for great coaches and management. It’s a great day for me and my family.”
After playing two seasons at Lake Superior State University in Michigan, Weight began a professional career in 1991 that spanned two decades. During that time, The Detroit, Michigan native represented the United States nine times in international competition, including three Winter Olympic Games (1998, 2002, 2006), three IIHF World Championship tournaments (1993, 1994, 2005), two World Cups of Hockey (1996, 2004) and one IIHF World Junior Championship (1991).
Weight won a silver medal with Team USA at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, but cites the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, in which the Americans beat Canada two games to one in the final, as the achievement that stands out most in his international career.
“That [win] was paramount in our growth as a hockey country,” Weight said. “We were developing that talent and that swagger. We had everything that other teams had – we had the guts and the toughness, and guys who were perennial all-stars, leading our team, and we pushed our egos aside. We had a team that was going to do anything we could to come together to win, whether it was blocking shots or playing a few less minutes than we were all used to. That was a team that was determined to put the USA jersey first. That’s a very proud thing for me.”
Although Team USA hadn’t had a lot of recent success leading up to that tournament, Weight says the players on that squad always expected to win. He says that positive attitude propelled the team to two straight wins in Montreal against Canada to conclude the tournament. Weight uses lessons he learned from that experience in his coaching philosophy today.
“That was an incredible part of my career that I’ll never forget. When you have success, you want to educate yourself from that. I look back at that and try to take things that I learned from that experience, whether it’s how you treat people, or why we succeeded, and apply them.”
Weight amassed 1033 points (278 goals, 755 assists) in 1238 NHL games, winning a Stanley Cup in 2006 with Carolina. He wrapped up his playing career with three seasons on Long Island, serving as team captain from 2009 until his retirement in 2011. Following the 2010-11 season, Weight won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.” He has served in his current post as Assistant Coach and Senior Advisor to the General Manager for the past two seasons, even taking head coaching responsibilities for two games when Jack Capuano was out due to illness.
U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees are chosen on the basis of extraordinary contribution to the sport of hockey in the United States. Weight and the rest of the 2013 class will be enshrined at a date and location to be announced later this summer.
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