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Belanger Enters Adirondack Hall of Fame

GLENS FALLS, NY – Hugo Belanger, a former Clarkson standout, is among a group of three players comprising the second class of the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame, it was announced Tuesday.

Belanger, Jody Gage and Barry Melrose make up the 2011 class that will be inducted into the Hall March 12 at teh Glens Falls Civic Center. The Hall of Fame was started last year as a way of honoring those associated with hockey in the area through the years.

The inaugural Hall of Fame class included Bill Dineen, Glenn Merkosky, Greg Joly and the late Ned Harkness, former head coach at Cornell, Rensselaer and Union.

Born in St. Hubert, Quebec, Belanger is considered the greatest player of the Adirondack IceHawks and Adirondack Frostbite. He is the first member of the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame who was not associated with the Adirondack Red Wings. Belanger played many seasons for the Adirondack IceHawks and Frostbite, scoring 221 goals.

Belanger has played in more games and scored more goals than anyone in Adirondack professional hockey history. He played in 456 games from 2000-06 with the IceHawks and Frostbite, including a six-season streak of 70 or more games. He recorded a career-best 143 points in 2002-03, one of three seasons he led the UHL in points. His 464 career assists are fourth all-time in UHL history.

“Obviously, I’m very honored to be selected, especially with the two guys I’m going in with,” Belanger said.

Belanger, who now lives in Florida with his wife, said he savored many memories from his days with Adirondack.

“The (UHL) All-Star Game at Adirondack, the Civic Center was packed, we won in a shootout and I was player of the game. That was a perfect weekend for me,” he said. “And when I scored my 1,000th point, they had Hugo Belanger Night, that was special. We won a couple of regular-season titles, but unfortunately, we didn’t get far in the playoffs.”

Belanger scored at least 30 goals in each of his years in Glens Falls and broke the 40-goal mark twice finishing with a total of 221 goals in his United Hockey League (UHL) career.

Belanger’s career-best 143 points in 2002-03 including 101 assists, also leading the league, pushed the IceHawks to a 44-28-4 record. Belanger led the UHL in points in three different seasons in 2000-01, 2002-03 and 2004-05. He finished second in points in 2001-02 and was fourth in his two other seasons. He won the league MVP in three consecutive seasons from 2001-03.

Belanger’s 464 career assists are fourth all-time in UHL history and his 221 goals rate 14th. In his entire professional career beginning in 1993 with the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL Belanger played in 1,011 games scoring an incredible 518 goals and 947 assists for a total of 1465 points. That total is the most for any professional minor-league hockey player since 1980 and places him fifth all-time.