Nobody knows exactly where hockey in our state is headed, yet as the six inductees into the Connecticut Hockey Hall of Fame stood there between periods Saturday night at the XL Center we could see where it has been.
From the near-great to the great to, in Brian Leetch's case, arguably the greatest American hockey player in history, we could see how far Connecticut's sons and daughters, and its adopted sons and daughters, have traveled. From the AHL to the NHL all the way back to the WHA, from the Connecticut Polar Bears and Avon Old Farms to the Olympic medal podium, an inscription on the Stanley Cup to the Hockey Hall of Fame, yeah, Connecticut hockey has been around the rink a few times.
Pat Verbeek is the assistant general manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning now. Mike Liut, who went on to get his law degree and become a player representative, is now managing director of Octagon's Hockey Division. Ken Gernander is head coach of the Whale. Julie Chu, aiming for the 2014 Olympics, is assistant coach at Union College and plays for Montreal in the Canadian Women's Hockey League. Leetch is dabbling in broadcasting with MSG and NESN. Blaine Stoughton has settled into Cincinnati.