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Cloquet legend enters hockey hall of fame

It may have started in northern Minnesota, but Jamie Langenbrunner's hockey career has taken him across the country and around the world.

But Wednesday, Dec. 6 brought him right back to northern Minnesota, even though he was standing in a hotel in Boston. That's when the former standout Lumberjacks hockey player was enshrined into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame - located in Eveleth, Minnesota - along with four others in Boston.

"It was an amazing honor to be elected to the Hall of Fame," Langenbrunner said. "I never really expected it, but I am still at a loss of words."

During a recent WKLK Coaches Corner show, Langenbrunner reflected on his time as a youth playing sports. He started playing hockey when his family lived in International Falls. When they moved to Cloquet, his passion for the game continued to grow.

"My parents encouraged me to play all sports growing up, but I gravitated towards hockey, and I think it worked out well," Langenbrunner said.

He was joined by NHL veteran Dustin Brown, Olympic gold medalist Katie King Crowley, NHL referee Brian Murphy and executive Brian Burke at the induction ceremony at Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston, capping off a three-day celebration of the newest HOF members.

In his speech last week, he was quick to mention two of his youth coaches: Don Lamirande and Sherm Liimatainen, who instilled in him his work ethic and competitive drive. That drive was a major factor in his development, not only as a player but as an individual as well.

"They told us we have 10 minutes, but mine will go long," Langenbrunner warned of his speech. He spent much of his time talking about his teammates in the NHL and playing for two Stanley Cup championships (with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and in 2003 as a New Jersey Devil).

Langenbrunner also talked about his parents' dedication and "the sacrifice they made driving me to tournaments and encouraging me along the way ... not only for me but my brothers as well."

Jamie praised his wife and high school sweetheart, Elizabeth, as a great supporter of his hockey career and said what she did raising the kids a lot of the time by herself shows what a remarkable wife he has. He also referenced his three children: daughter Laine, sons Landon and Mason, and how proud he is of the young adults they have become.

"I am very humbled to be here today with my family, my parents, and brothers and their families to accept this award," he said. "I was never the most talented or the best skater, but I have a competitive drive that pushed me and I hate to lose."

Langenbrunner helped lead Cloquet to back-to-back state tournament appearances in the 1991 and 1992 seasons as a sophomore and junior. He was named the Associated Press Minnesota Player of the Year as a junior. Following his junior season, Langenbrunner moved on to play Major Junior Hockey in Canada for the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League.

He said playing in the state hockey tournament is one of his favorite memories as a player, along with the Stanley Cups and world junior tournaments.

His favorite, however, was being named the captain of his second Olympic team.

In 1998, Langenbrunner played for Team USA in the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Twelve years later, he played again for Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. He captained that team to a silver medal in the Olympics, losing in overtime to Canada.

Despite his success as a hockey player, Langenbrunner didn't talk about his own goals, assists or stats, but what an honor it was to play a game he loved and being part of a team and the camaraderie he shared with his teammates. That was the biggest thing he missed when he retired.

Nowadays, Jamie and Elizabeth are empty nesters, but Laine has moved back home for a while. That's nice, because he missed a lot of time with her when she was growing up, he said. They also love to spend time in Utah with Landon skiing and listening to his music and attending Mason's hockey games with Harvard, where he is a sophomore.

Today, Langenbrunner is the assistant general manager for the Boston Bruins where he has served in various capacities within hockey operations since 2015. They live in Blaine, Minnesota, on a golf course where he tries to play as much as he can.

Jamie remains busy with the Bruins doing a lot of traveling, but one thing he was excited about was getting the opportunity to play golf next spring down in Augusta, Georgia, at the home of The Masters golf tournament.

WKLK and Coaches corner will rebroadcast an encore of his interview at 9 a.m. Saturday on 96.5 FM or online at http://www.wklk wmoz.com.

Hall of fame bio

Langenbrunner played 16 full seasons in the National Hockey League as a versatile and dependable forward. He played in 1,109 regular-season NHL games in total and recorded 663 points, including 243 goals and 420 assists.

Langenbrunner won his first Stanley Cup in 1999 as a member of the Dallas Stars, tallying 10 goals and seven assists in the playoffs that season. He claimed his second Cup during his first season with New Jersey in 2003 and led the NHL with 18 playoff points. Throughout his career, he competed in 146 career playoff games and recorded 87 points.

He made his NHL debut with the Stars in 1995. He became an NHL regular with Dallas in 1996-97 and recorded his first 20-goal season in 1997-98.

Langenbrunner was traded to New Jersey in 2002 and was named captain of the Devils midway through the 2007-08 season. In 2009, he became the first player since Wayne Gretzky to score two goals a game in three consecutive games. After nine seasons with New Jersey, he returned to Dallas for the 2010-11 season and scored his first goal back with his former team in his 1,000th career game. Langenbrunner signed with the St. Louis Blues as a free agent in 2011 for the final two seasons of his career.

Langenbrunner played for Team USA at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, and in 2010 captained the team to a silver medal at the 2010 games in Vancouver. Langenbrunner has also donned the red, white and blue at two IIHF World Junior Championships (1994, 1995) and at the 2004 World Cup.