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Friday, June 29, 2007

LSSU Alumnus Elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

LSSU alumnus Ron Francis, along with Mark Messier, Al MacInnis and Scott Stevens were elected to the ice hockey Hall of Fame on Thursday, while NHL executive Jim Gregory will enter as a builder in one of the hall's finest classes ever.

"I'm very honored to go in with a class like this," Francis said.

Ron Francis, a 23-year veteran with the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, and Toronto Maple Leafs announced his retirement today from the National Hockey League. Francis received an honorary doctorate degree from Lake Superior State University in 1998.

Francis, 42, a 4-time NHL All-Star (1983, 1985, 1990, 1996) appeared in a total of 1,731 NHL games (which ranks him 3rd on the all-time list). His stellar career also included 549 goals (19th), 1,249 assists (2nd, behind Wayne Gretzky), and 1,798 total points (4th).

After being drafted by the Hartford Whalers in 1981 (1st choice, 4th overall), Francis began a career that would be renowned for its remarkable longevity, with his 23 seasons tying him for 4th in most NHL seasons played. More impressive, however, was Francis’ consistent statistical output, as demonstrated by his 20 seasons with 20 or more goals, a feat surpassed only by hockey legend Gordie Howe.

Francis is known for playing the game with class, as his three Lady Byng Memorial Trophies (1995, 1998, 2002) will attest, and his Frank J. Selke Trophy (1995) solidified his reputation as an excellent all-around player. His Hall-Of-Fame career is highlighted by consecutive Stanley Cup victories in 1990-91 and 1991-92 with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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