Former Hockey Canada president Murray Costello has been named this year’s recipient of the Wayne Gretzky International Award, presented by USA Hockey to international individuals who have made major contributions to the growth and advancement of hockey in the United States.
Past recipients of the Wayne Gretzky International Award include Anatoli Tarasov (2008), Herb Brooks (2004), Bobby Hull (2003), Scotty Bowman (2002), Scotty Morrison (2001), the Howe family (2000) and Wayne Gretzky (1999).
“Murray Costello has been a wonderful contributor to hockey's growth in the United States, as well as the world,” said Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey. “During his time with the IIHF and Hockey Canada, he has been incredibly forthcoming with the spread of knowledge and ideas that can positively impact American administrators, coaches and players of all ages.”
Costello was president of the Canadian Hockey Association, and then Hockey Canada, from 19, playing a major role in the consolidation of the CHA and the former independent Hockey Canada organization into an all-new organization under the name of Hockey Canada.
He was instrumental in the creation of the Canadian women's hockey program, which spurred the growth of the sport among young women. Ottawa, Ont., hosted the inaugural IIHF World Women's Championship in 1990, which helped pave the way for the debut of women's hockey in the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.
Following his retirement from Hockey Canada in 1998, Costello joined the International Ice Hockey Federation as a council member, and was vice-president of the IIHF from 2008 until his retirement this spring. He has been a key member of numerous IIHF committees, including as chairman of the competition, junior, medical and technical/arena committees.
“Murray has been a pleasure to work with during my time at USA Hockey," said Walter L. Bush, Jr., USA Hockey chairman of the board. “He has represented our sport with great class during his time with Hockey Canada and the IIHF. I appreciate all he has done to cooperate with USA Hockey's growth and development for men and women. His willingness to exchange ideas and grow the game across borders has been tremendous.”
A native of South Porcupine, Ont., Costello played in the National Hockey League for three Original Six franchises (Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings) from 1953-57. After his playing career ended, Costello earned a law degree and became an executive with the Western Hockey League's Seattle Totems. He moved on to become the WHL's publicity director and eventually the arbitrator for the World Hockey Association Players Association.
Costello was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005.
He will be presented with the Wayne Gretzky International Award as part of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Dinner on Monday, Oct. 15, at the Plaza of the Americas in Dallas, Texas.