PROVIDENCE – Jeff Jillson, a native of North Smithfield and Babe Mousseau, a native of Harrisville, were among five local hockey greats named this week to the RI Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.
Jillson attended Mount St. Charles Academy in Woonsocket where he earned All-State honors. He was a two-time NCAA All-American and Academic All-American at the University of Michigan, and won numerous awards before being selected in the first round of the 1999 National Hockey League Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks.
He represented his country as a member of Team USA in three world championships before his first professional season with the Sharks.
“Over his 11-year pro career, the rugged defenseman suited up in the NHL with the Sharks, Buffalo Sabres, and Boston Bruins,” noted a release on the class.
Jillson played four seasons in the American Hockey League, including one with the Providence Bruins in 2003.
Mousseau attended high school in his hometown of Burrillville and starred on the gridiron and the ice for famed coach Tom Eccleston before attending St. Bonaventure University. He took over the Burrillville coaching reigns in 1957.
“He coached the Broncos for 18 seasons, becoming a legendary coach in his own right,” noted the release.
During the 18-year period, Mousseau’s teams always made it to the playoffs, and won seven state championships, capturing the state hockey crown in the decades of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. His 1959 Burrillville team was the first Rhode Island squad to win a New England interscholastic hockey title. During his tenure, Mousseau would guide teams to four more, tying the record for most ever.
The former players were among those unveiled during its annual Hall of Fame Game on February 24th at the Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence. Vin Cimini, founding chairman of the Hall,
lauded the careers and contributions of the class and the honor they have brought to themselves, their families, their schools, and their state.” With their formal inductions in August, the number of honorees in the Hall will reach 45.
The Enshrinement Celebration & Dinner for the 2023 class will be held on Saturday, Aug. 19 at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet in Cranston. Tickets are now on sale on the the Hall of Fame’s website, RIHHOF.com.