Player, coach, scout, owner nominated
A former WHHS hockey player, and carrying the name of one of the most influential hockey families in the city, former scout, coach and player Jack Barzee has been nominated for induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.
Barzee’s long and varied career in hockey covered parts of six decades and included many formative experiences with the Waterloo (IA) Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League, a junior league that has developed many future NHL stars.
The Black Hawks announced that the organization will nominate Barzee for the United States Hockey Hall of Fame before the selection committee begins to consider its 2021 candidates near the end of February.
“He was a pioneer of where we are today, and why we are here today with the amount of Americans that have the opportunity they have,” said Black Hawks President and Head Coach P.K. O’Handley.
Retiring from NHL Central Scouting in 2012, Barzee had spent 23 years working for the National Hockey League in addition to four years as a scout for the Washington Capitals. During that period, players born and developed in the United States became increasingly prominent at the highest levels of professional hockey. At the time Barzee began scouting, approximately 75 percent of NHL’ers were Canadian, while U.S. players shared the balance of opportunities with their counterparts of various European nationalities. Today, Americans make up nearly 30 percent of NHL rosters.
Before Barzee had the opportunity to influence the perception of U.S. skaters, he took a hand in directly developing many as a coach and junior hockey team owner. Beginning in the 1976/77 season, Barzee became the Black Hawks’ head coach during the team’s final season with a roster of all senior players. That offseason, he was an influential voice as the USHL merged with the Midwest Junior Hockey League.
The two years which followed included hybrid rosters of junior and senior players skating together, and Barzee’s Black Hawks won the league’s playoff title in both 1978 and 1979. Skating with an all-junior club in 1979/80, Waterloo won the league’s South Division and reached the Clark Cup Championship series.
Barzee would go on to found the Dubuque Fighting Saints in 1980, leading that organization to three Clark Cups, two Anderson Cups, and two USA Hockey National Junior Gold Cup championships in just five seasons. His Saints also produced the most prominent NHL player developed in the USHL during the league’s first decade of all-junior competition: future Calder Trophy winner and Stanley Cup champion Gary Suter.
Barzee originally hailed from West Haven. At age 6 he played Peewee Hockey at the New Haven Arena and played West Haven High School Hockey then on to the US National Team, Pittsburgh, Muskegeon, Nova Scotia Maritime Hockey League and then onto the Waterloo BlackHawks. The Barzee family is well known in hockey circles in Connecticut, his dad, Bud Barzee, was a player, coach and official in the early days of the sport in the area, was a supporter of the building of the Edward L. Bennett Rink in 1969, and a founder of the West Haven Youth Hockey Association.
After skating for several minor league and senior teams in the northeast, he joined the Black Hawks in 1965/66. He was a member of three Waterloo USHL championship squads. The game also took him briefly to the Green Bay Bobcats when the Hawks were on hiatus from the USHL in 1969/70 and to Kusnacht, Switzerland, in 1972/73.
His return to Waterloo provided his first administrative role, when he became Publicity Director and President of Black Hawks Enterprises, the publicly-owned company operating the team throughout much of the 1970s.
Other Notable Honors and Achievements from Jack Barzee’s Resume include
–Three-time USHL Coach of the Year (’78, ’81, & ’83)
–USHL Treasurer, 1981-1983
–Coached the U.S. entry during the 1979, 1980, and 1981 Beard Cup tournaments in Switzerland
–Recognized in 2005 with the USHL’s Distinguished Service Award
–Former member of USA Hockey’s Board of Directors
“You look at Gino Gasparini, you look at Herb Brooks, you look at Jack Barzee…they got with a bunch of owners and said what this [the USHL] could be. Quite frankly, they had a crystal ball that it could be a large feeder for the National Hockey League…he was a driver in this and really set forth the vision of what this has become,” said P.K. O’Handley, President and Head Coach of the Waterloo Black Hawks and winningest head coach in United States Hockey League history.
“During his time with NHL Central Scouting, Jack was a key catalyst in having the USHL being recognized in the scouting world as the top junior league in the United States and he proudly promoted the talent and potential that was available to the professional hockey ranks from the United States,” said Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting, in 2016..
Barzee’s nomination will be considered and an announcement is expected by the end of the month.