Doug Weight recalled his father putting him on skates at the age of 2 because he could barely walk because of a childhood condition that relegated him to wearing braces on his legs.
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”He started putting me on the ice to strengthen them at the suggestion from a doctor,” he said.
Weight said it wasn’t a pretty sight at the rink in St. Clair Shores, Mich.
”I looked like Forrest Gump,” he joked.
Four decades later, Weight was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
The Stanley Cup champion, three-time Olympian and four-time NHL All-Star was inducted Monday night at the Motor City Casino — in the city where he grew up.
”It’s ironic,” the Detroiter said. ”Pretty special.”
Weight was honored along with former teammate Bill Guerin, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, three-time Olympian and four-time All-Star.
”It’s very special, three different NHL teams and nine teams in all,” Weight said about the number of times he teamed up with Guerin. ”It’s a pretty incredible run together.
”It’s icing on the cake to go in with Billy.”
Weight and Guerin’s wives and children have become friends over the years, going on vacations together and sharing holidays as families.
”It couldn’t have worked out any better,” Guerin said.
Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos, former college coach Ron Mason and Cindy Curley, one of the pioneers in women’s hockey, also were inducted.
USA Today Hockey Writer Kevin Allen was also given the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the U.S. at the event.
Weight and Guerin began their friendship before they were in the NHL and grew closer while playing together for the Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues and New York Islanders. They also teamed up to play for their country on more than once occasion, including the 2002 Winter Olympics when they helped the Americans take the silver medal.
Weight, who won a Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes, had 278 career goals and 1,033 points from the 1991-92 season through the 2010-11 season. He is an assistant coach for the New York Islanders.
Guerin hoisted Cups in 1995 with the New Jersey Devils and in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The native of Massachusetts had 429 goals and 856 points in his career that started during the same season as Weight and ended one year earlier. Guerin is a player development coach for the Penguins.
Karmanos fell in love hockey when his children began playing the sport, but laments that a lot of kids can’t afford to play the game. He said ice cost about $40 an hour when his children were growing up and now costs $300 for the same period of time. Sticks and skates, he said, also are much more expensive.
”One of the things that holds us back as a sport is it costs too much,” Karmanos said. ”We’re pricing a lot of people out of the game.”
Mason led Michigan State and Lake Superior State to national titles and also coached at Bowling Green. He also was an athletic director for the Spartans.
”This isn’t something you dream about,” he said. ”If you’ve put a lot of years in, like I did, as a player and a coach and of course AD, it’s nice to be rewarded at the end of it.”
Curley had a record 23 points in the International Ice Hockey Federation’s first world championship for women in 1990.
”The women’s game is way behind the men’s game and it hasn’t been around as long,” she said. ”We are all, as women, patient for the opportunities that the guys have had. The fact that the Hall is considering women is exciting to me. I know there’s so many great players that deserve to be in here that will be. I’m just honored that they considered me.”