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Lester Patrick Trophy

Lester Patrick Award ceremony honors community

Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 12:21 AM / Lester Patrick Trophy

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- This was a night to celebrate not just the sport of hockey in the United States, but the family of hockey.

Four men -- Mark Johnson, Bob Pulford, Tony Rossi and Jeff Sauer -- were honored Wednesday night as the Class of 2011 for the Lester Patrick Award at RiverCentre for their contributions to the sport in the U.S. All were deserving, and all in one way or another talked about the role of hockey in their families and about the greater family in the sport.

"The thing people sometimes forget about hockey is it is a close-knit community," Sauer said. "I've walked down Red Square (in Moscow) and had someone come up to me and say, ‘Hey coach, how are you doing?' It was a guy I had coached against in a world championship, one of the assistant coaches from Russia. It is a small community, and you don't see that in other sports."

Sauer has seen everything in his 40 years of coaching

Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 3:00 AM / Lester Patrick Trophy

Michael Blinn - Staff Writer

With 40 years and 655 wins at the college level, it's safe to assume Jeff Sauer has gone through it all -- at least he thought had, anyway.

He's coached his way to two national championships, a silver medal at the 1990 Goodwill Games, and the medal round at the 1990 IIHF World Championship. His resume is stocked with awards won over a lengthy career and he has produced an All-Star team of players to hit the NHL and international ranks.

All that, and Sauer still found himself in disbelief when he answered the phone and heard NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on the other end.

"I looked at my phone and saw it was a call from Gary Bettman," Sauer said. "I thought it was someone playing a trick on me."

Pulford recognized for contributions to U.S. hockey

Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 3:00 AM / Lester Patrick Trophy

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

If an NHL player or coach is lucky, they develop a strong relationship with a team and become an indelible part of that franchise's history. By his own admission, Bob Pulford is a very lucky man.
In a career spanning four decades, the executive, coach and player has played an important role in the history of not one, but three NHL franchises: the Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks. But it is his overall contribution to hockey in the United States that has earned him the 2011 Lester Patrick Trophy, which he will receive in St. Paul, Minn., on Wednesday .
"This is a great honor and I'm extremely proud," Pulford, 75, told

Lester Patrick Award a family affair for the Johnsons

Monday, 10.24.2011 / 9:00 AM / Lester Patrick Trophy

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

Hockey has always been the family business for Mark Johnson, and countless families around the United States have benefitted from that.

Johnson will be honored for his contributions to the sport in the U.S. Wednesday when he receives the Lester Patrick Award at Saint Paul RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minn. His father, legendary coach Bob Johnson, received the award in 1988.

"I was a little stunned at first and certainly humbled with being recognized. It is a real honor and it certainly puts a smile on your face in regards to what has been going on in my life for the last 30 or 40 years," Johnson said. "When [my father] received the award and the recognition for what he did, whether it was Wisconsin or USA hockey or what he did in Pittsburgh and Calgary in his career, it was obviously not only a special evening for him but certainly for our family. With my ability to go in and now be recognized, it makes the honor even that much more special.

"It is a great award obviously and I'm certainly looking forward to Wednesday night."

Trailblazer Rossi to receive Lester Patrick Trophy

Monday, 10.24.2011 / 3:00 AM / Lester Patrick Trophy

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

"Tony had a way to do the right things not only for the children, but in terms of the long-term growth of the game not only in Illinois, but throughout the United States. There are always delayed rewards in organizations and it took time for the results to come through in Illinois, but it started with Tony and with the people around him." -- USA Hockey president Ron DeGregorio on Rossi

After nearly five decades spent playing a significant role in the growth of hockey across the United States, it's easy to see why the sport has had such a profound effect on the everyday life of Tony Rossi.

"When life is over, I would hate to have a tombstone that said, 'He built a couple of nice buildings,' " Rossi told

Rossi is referring to the fact he also happens to be president of RMK Management Corporation, a Chicago-based real estate company which manages 23 rental properties totaling more than 8,000 units throughout the Midwest. Despite his full plate of real estate obligations, Rossi has always kept hockey near the top of his to-do list.

His volunteer efforts haven't gone unnoticed, either, as Wednesday he'll be awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to U.S. hockey at the RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minn.

Boston's finest honored with Lester Patrick Award

Wednesday, 10.27.2010 / 8:37 PM / Lester Patrick Trophy

James Murphy - Correspondent

BOSTON -- Hall of Famer Cam Neely, AHL President Dave Andrews and a pair of Boston coaching legends -- Boston University's Jack Parker and Boston College's Jerry York -- were honored Wednesday night with the Lester Patrick Award for "outstanding service to hockey in the United States."

While all four were humble when asked about receiving the award and what they had done to be recognized, they were also amazed at the growth of hockey in the United States and proud to have played a role in it.

"You have your number retired by the Bruins, an Original Six club and obviously being in the Hall of Fame is special, but being awarded this award is very special as well," Neely said.

BU's Parker earns Patrick award with great service

Tuesday, 10.26.2010 / 3:39 PM / Lester Patrick Trophy

Michael Blinn - Staff Writer

In a city full of hockey history, Jack Parker has become a hockey institution unto himself.

Sure, Boston is home to the NHL's first American team, the Boston Bruins. Yes, several of its colleges -- Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern -- are NCAA Division I powers. The city, and its outlying suburbs, has produced some of the top American-born players to ever play the sport. And, let's not forget the Beanpot, perhaps the most famous hockey trophy behind the Stanley Cup.


Neely earned Lester Patrick Award on and off ice

Tuesday, 10.26.2010 / 1:15 PM / Lester Patrick Trophy

James Murphy - Correspondent

Cam Neely was the pre-eminent power forward of his generation, rewarded for his prowess on the ice with induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005, nine years after his injury-induced retirement.

Wednesday night, Neely will be recognized with another award, one that reaches beyond just what he did on the ice.

Neely, along with Boston University coach Jack Parker, Boston College coach Jerry York and long-time AHL President Dave Andrews, will be presented with the Lester Patrick Award at TD Garden in Boston for their contributions to hockey in the United States.

York flabbergasted by Lester Patrick Award

Tuesday, 10.26.2010 / 9:00 AM / Lester Patrick Trophy

Michael Blinn - Staff Writer

After more than 50 years in the game of hockey, very little shocks Boston College coach Jerry York.

It appears, however, that a call from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman makes that short list.

This summer, York was driving back from a round of golf, idly contemplating the day's play, when his phone rang. When he picked up and heard, 'Hi, this is Gary Bettman,' on the other end, he was flabbergasted.

The call from Bettman was to inform York, the long-time Boston College coach of his selection to receive the Lester Patrick Award, given annually by the NHL and USA Hockey for contributions the hockey in the United States.

AHL's Andrews a worthy Lester Patrick winner

Monday, 10.25.2010 / 9:53 AM / Lester Patrick Trophy

Lindsay Kramer - Correspondent

"I think Dave Andrews is one of the premier sports executives in this country, without question. What he's built with this league is incredible. As an owner, it's just a great comfort knowing this guy is calling the shots. When you have a guy like this in charge, it really helps you sleep at night." -- Syracuse owner Howard Dolgon

Every March, American Hockey League president Dave Andrews puts the heat of the league's playoff races and the headaches from its problems behind him and goes sailing for a week in the Caribbean.

The cell-phone service out there is spotty, and Andrews doesn't care if those nagging little bars disappear altogether. His league will get along fine without him, he reasons, and certainly will be right there when he returns to port.

"A lot of things go along nicely when I'm not there," he said.

To the extent that Andrews is correct in that assessment, it may be the greatest indicator of the job he's done with the league. Entering its 75th season, the AHL never has been a more bustling place, with its 30 teams at last aligned one-on-one with an NHL partner and a geographic footprint that stretches from Manchester to Norfolk, San Antonio to Abbotsford.
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Quote of the Day

I look forward to the process, the battle, the pain, the fun, the journey.  It's going to be a long one but it's going to be a lot of fun. If you think there is no pain coming, there is pain coming.

— Mike Babcock, introduced as coach of the Toronto on Thursday, had a warning for fans