Former Detroit Red Wings’ and New Jersey Devils’ defenseman Brian Rafalski has been elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
Brian Refalski was born in a suburb of Detroit, but did not join the Detroit Red Wings until 2007, where he was paired with Nicklas Lidstrom.
Rafalski’s professional hockey career began in Sweden, where he played with Brynäs IF for one season, before heading over to Finland for three years to play for HPK – one season – and HIFK – two seasons -.
In 1999, after his second season with HIFK, the New Jersey Devils signed Brian Rafalski and he had an immediate impact on the ice. In his rookie season with the Devils, Rafalski was named to the Rookie All-Star team and he lifted the Stanley Cup. Three years later, the Devils went back to the Stanley Cup Finals and Rafalski was once again skating around the ice with the Cup in his hands.
When he joined the Detroit Red Wings in 2007, Brian Rafalski once again had an immediate on the team and hoisted the Stanley Cup for the third time in his career.
Brian Rafalski retired from the NHL in 2011 with one year left on his contract because of health reasons, but attempted a comeback last season with the Florida Everblades. Brian Rafalski did not play a single game with the Everblades and was released from his contract eighteen days after he signed it because of back issues.
Internationally, Brian Rafalski represented the USA on seven separate occasions: twice in the World Junior Championships, once in the World Championships, once in the World Cup of Hockey, and three times on the Olympic stage.
Rafalski was a member of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games. He helped Team USA earn the silver medal at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics. At the 2010 Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Rafalski was named to the media all-star team and was honored as the tournament’s best defenseman by the directorate after tallying four goals and eight points in six games.
Brian Rafalski is one of the great american-born defensemen, but being named to the Hall of Fame is an overwhelming experience.
“I’m very humbled and honored,” Rafalski said on a conference call from his off-season home in Wisconsin. “It’s very rewarding for myself. I wasn’t really expecting this.”
Detroit Red Wings’ fans will always remember Brian Rafalski in a great light and compare possible free agents or call-ups to him to tell if the player would be a good fit for the team.
Congratulations, Brian Rafalski on the honor.