Inducted Saturday, September 16, 2006
Matt Cullen graduated from Moorhead High School in 1995. During high school, he played baseball, football and hockey. Cullen competed with the Moorhead High hockey team at the 1993, 1994 and 1995 state tournaments. He was named to the all tournament team and the all state team all three years, and in 1995 Cullen was a Mr. Hockey finalist and Associated Press High School Player of the Year.
Cullen played hockey for two seasons with St. Cloud State University. He was named to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association All-Rookie Team in 1995-96 and in 1996-97 he was selected for the WCHA All-Star team.
In the 1996 National Hockey League draft, Cullen was drafted by Anaheim in the second round, 35th pick overall. He played five and a half seasons for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Cullen became a Florida Panther in 2003 and scored his 200th career NHL point that season. In 2003-04, he played in his 500th NHL game. During the 2004-05 season, Cullen played with Cortina of the Italian league, scoring a league-leading 27 goals. Cullen has played for four World Championship teams and was a 2004 bronze medalist on Team USA.
Cullen signed with the Carolina Hurricanes as a free agent in August 2004. He achieved career highs in goals (25) and points (49) while helping Carolina win the Southeast Division championship. He played a key role in Carolina’s run to the Stanley Cup championship with four goals and 14 assists in 25 games, including two assists in the Stanley Cup-clinching game against Edmonton in June 2006. In July 2006, Cullen signed with the New York Rangers.
In 2003-04, Cullen and his wife began the Cullen Children’s Foundation. Cullen’s brother underwent surgeries for skin cancer and the Cullens had seen a need for support of children battling cancer during visits to children’s hospitals. Cully’s Kids provides financial resources to organizations in the Fargo-Moorhead area that support children’s healthcare needs and has raised more than $450,000 to be used locally for children fighting cancer.
Matt is married to Bridget Cullen, and they are awaiting the birth of their first child. Cullen lives in West Fargo, N.D., during the off-season.
Update: After one season playing for the New York Rangers, Cullen was traded back to the Carolina Hurricanes. He spent two more seasons with the Hurricanes before he was traded to the Ottawa Senators for the final 21 games of the 2009-10 season. Cullen returned home to Minnesota in 2010 to play three years for the Minnesota Wild before joining the Nashville Predators for two years in 2013. He signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Aug. 6, 2015. He helped the Penguins win the Stanley Cup in both 2015-16 and 2016-17. Cullen and his wife Bridget have three sons, Brooks, Wyatt and Joey.