WASHINGTON — It’s a great week to be Neal Henderson.

The co-founder of the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club will be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame Thursday at the Marriott Marquis in Washington.

Henderson joins NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, former NHL players Tim Thomas and Brian Gionta, and former U.S. Olympic women’s hockey player Krissy Wendell in the class of 2019.

On Tuesday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser honored Henderson by declaring that Thursday will be “Neal Henderson Day.”

Henderson tells us that when he started the program more than 40 years ago, he never imagined he’d wind up going into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

“I never thought of it,” said Neal Henderson. “Just did it with the kids in the neighborhood, and we were having fun on winter days. It kept leading in to let’s go to the rink and play some hockey.”

For coach Henderson, the motivation to continue running the program for more than four decades was the kids he worked with and their families.

“It’s something the kids kept me coming back to the rink for,” said Henderson. “To see them, wanting to see me. And the parents trusting their child with me. It honored me, and they cared that much to trust their child to me.”

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The induction ceremony for the 2019 class of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame is Thursday, December 12, at 7:00pm at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC.