Congratulations to the always excellent and insightful Bob McKenzie for winning this year’s Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award, his profession’s highest honour, and which puts him Hall of Fame bound.
McKenzie is an absolutely deserving recipient, a guy at the top of his game, and the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) thinks so too.
There’s no word yet on whether P.J. Stock will take home the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for Excellence in Sports Broadcasting.
Below, a letter I have from Mr. Ferguson to Emile Dion in Quebec City, dated 1929.
Elmer Ferguson, born in 1885 and deceased in 1972, was the sports editor for the now-defunct Montreal Herald, a newspaper in existence from 1811 to 1957. That’s quite a run. 146 years.
Elmer also did color commentary on radio broadcasts, first with the Montreal Maroons between 1933 and 1938, and then the Habs from 1938 to 1967. He worked alongside the late, great Danny Gallivan in later years.
Mr. Ferguson, who has signed the letter using fountain pen, was inducted into the media section of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982, and the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award is given each year to a journalist “in recognition of distinguished members of the newspaper profession whose words have brought honour to journalists and to hockey“.
Among those honoured are the likes of Jacques Beauchamp, Red Burnett, Trent Frayne, Red Fisher, Andy O’Brien, Michael Farber, and Roy MacGregor, and now McKenzie joins the pack.
The man mentioned in the letter, Cooper Smeaton, was a referee and the NHL’s first referee-in-chief when the league was formed in 1917. He was inducted into the referee/linesmen section of the Hall of Fame in 1961.