It's been a week of commemorations for Paul Holmgren.
Two days after being named a finalist for the Flyers Hall of Fame, Holmgren was elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 class. Holmgren will be inducted alongside Stan Fischler and Peter McNab in December at a to be determined location.
"I can't begin to express how deeply humbled and grateful I am for this honor," Holmgren said Thursday. "I think back to the latter part of June when I got a call from Pat Kelleher (executive director of USA Hockey) telling me that I was going to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame — it was a very emotional day for me."
Holmgren, currently a senior advisor for the Flyers, played 500 career games in the orange and black before serving the organization as president, general manager, assistant general manager, head coach, assistant coach and director of pro scouting. A Flyers lifer, Holmgren made his NHL debut with the club in March 1976 as a 20-year-old and has spent 40-plus years serving the organization.
A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Holmgren played for the University of Minnesota and then turned pro. In 1980 against the Islanders, the Flyers' winger became the first American-born player to ever score a hat trick during the Stanley Cup Final. Holmgren was an original member of the U.S. men's national team advisory group and has represented the U.S. in various roles on the Olympics and World Cup of Hockey stages.
"I'm very blessed," Holmgren said. "I'm a kid from the East Side of St. Paul. A lot of things went my way, my life, to be able to play in the NHL, I consider a high honor. I was able to coach in the NHL, I was able to be a GM in the NHL — all of those are honors for me. You think back, there's just not that many people that can say that. I find that very, very humbling and I realize and I know that I've been blessed.
"To get to know the people that I've gotten to know along the way, I got to work for Ed Snider, I worked with Bob Clarke, he was my roommate for many years, I got know to Gary Bettman, I got to know Brian Burke — legends in the game. I worked with Brian Burke, I worked with Mike Keenan, I coached Mark Howe, I coached Chris Pronger. So many great things have happened just because I was fortunate enough and blessed enough to be able to be a part of this game, this great game of hockey."
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