Granato among first women in International Ice Hockey hall

QUEBEC CITY -- The International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame is
not just for men any more.

Former U.S. Olympic hockey star Cammi Granato will break the
gender barrier in the players' category, along with Geraldine
Heaney and Angela James, when she is inducted into the
international hockey shrine in May.

Mario Lemieux, Igor Larionov, Philippe Bozon of France and Art
Berglund, the Canadian-born manager of U.S. national teams for many
years, also will be enshrined.

"I am immensely happy that we have reached the phase in hockey
history when we rightfully can induct women to the player's
category," International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene
Fasel said in a statement. "This was a very important decision in
the history of the IIHF and it feels very good that this coincides
with the 100-year anniversary of the IIHF."

Granato, 36, began playing hockey with her siblings, including
big brother Tony who went on to an NHL career. She became the most
well-known female hockey player in the United States, playing in
every IIHF world women's championships and Olympics from the start
in 1990 until 2005, when she led the U.S. to its first world title.

As captain, she led the U.S. to gold in 1998 when women's hockey
was an official Olympic sport for the first time. She was honored
with the NHL's Lester Patrick Award in 2007 for outstanding service
to hockey in the United States.

The IIHF Hall of Fame was introduced in 1997 and now has 150
inductees from 22 countries.