Former Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tom Barrasso did not belabor his speech when he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night. Barrasso spoke for just five minutes but was eloquent and succinct as he thanked several people, including former Penguins GM Craig Patrick, and shared a touching story of how he came to be a hockey player.
Barrasso’s induction speech video is below.
The Penguins acquired Barrasso via trade from the Buffalo Sabres in 1988-89. For a team that already had Hall of Famers Mario Lemieux and defenseman Paul Coffey, a big-time goalie was a sorely missing element. Two years later, the Penguins won the first of back-to-back Stanley Cups with Barrasso as its much-relied-upon backstop.
Barrasso played for the Penguins from the 1988-89 season until he was traded to the Ottawa Senators in the 1999-2000 season. In appeared in 460 games with a 226-153-53 record. Overall, Barrasso won 369 games in his 19-year career.
During his speech, Barrasso shared that he and his two siblings were adopted. His adoptive parents have long since passed, and his sister passed away a few years ago, but Barrasso’s brother and two sons were in attendance.
“My parents, Tom and Lucy, gave my sister Lynn, my brother Jim, and myself the greatest opportunity ever when they adopted the three of us. They loved us. Supported us in everything we did,” Barrasso said. “They both, unfortunately, have been gone for a long time … My parents knew nothing about hockey other than the arena seemed like a good place for the kids to be. So when the arena that we skated at as kids went into bankruptcy, it only made sense. The two people who couldn’t skate became part owners of a hockey rink. They became hockey people.”
Barrasso said that he began working at the rink when he was 12 years old, “sweeping floors, cleaning toilets,” and he’s never worked anywhere else but a hockey rink.
The goalie also made a point to thank the pediatric specialists who treated his daughter, Ashley, who battled childhood cancer during Barrasso’s time in Pittsburgh and had a reoccurrence around 2000.
Craig Patrick was one of three hockey people specifically cited by Barrasso for thanks. Not only was Patrick a supporter when Barrasso was the Penguins goalie, Patrick selected Barrasso for Team USA in 2002.
Scotty Bowman, who drafted and started Barrasso as an 18-year-old rookie with the Buffalo Sabres, also received gratitude. The now-Hall-of-Fame netminder won the Vezina Trophy and Calder Trophy that season with Buffalo.
Also inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday were Henrik Lundqvist, Pierre Turgeon, Mike Vernon, Caroline Ouellette, and Ken Hitchcock. Former Colorado Avalanche GM Pierre Lacroix was inducted posthumously, and his family was honored.
Tom Barrasso: “I would like to thank my teammates through the years, with whom we shared great success, failure, epic card games, golf games – we have a bond that cannot be broken. And we shared a time in all of our lives that cannot be replicated. My thanks to all of you.” pic.twitter.com/R2Z9q8Ixfv
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 14, 2023