The Chicago Blackhawks, in conjunction with the Hockey Hall of Fame and Professional Hockey Writers Association, announced today that Blackhawks Team Historian Bob Verdi has been selected as the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award winner for excellence in hockey journalism.
“This is a great honor and I am very thankful to Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough for the opportunity to continue writing about hockey for an institution like the Blackhawks,” Verdi said. “John brought me out of moth balls—I mean golf balls—to cover a sport that was my first beat. I was spoiled by hockey people because when I went to cover other sports, I saw how unique hockey people were in the respect they showed for the game. Winning this award is a bonus for me as I have been very fortunate in my career.”
Verdi, a Lake Forest (Ill.) College graduate, serves as Blackhawks Magazine’s featured writer as well as an online contributor for chicagoblackhawks.com. He recently completed his seventh season with the Blackhawks. The Brooklyn N.Y. native was also the feature writer in the 2010, 2013 and 2015 Stanley Cup championship books, “One Goal,” “One Goal II” and “One Goal III.”
“Bob is such a prolific writer and he is always humble—an icon and role model for our staff,” said John McDonough, President & CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks. “His body of work covering hockey for decades is remarkable and this award is well-deserved. We are proud of what he has accomplished and honored to have one of the best sportswriters ever on our team.”
An 18-time National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Sportswriter of the Year, Verdi served as a staff writer and columnist for the Chicago Tribune from 1967 to 1997 before freelancing for the newspaper as a contributing columnist from 1997 to 2009. While with the Tribune, Verdi watched the Blackhawks transform from a last- to first-place team, covering hockey greats such as Keith Magnuson, Tony Esposito, Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull.
Verdi has also served as a senior writer for Golf Digest and Golf World (1997-2009), worked as a columnist for Sporting News and The Hockey News and contributed to Sport Magazine and Sports Illustrated. In 1980, Verdi witnessed Team USA’s “Miracle On Ice” at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics, among numerous other Olympic games. He has covered several Stanley Cup Finals, Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Finals and Golf majors, in addition to 30 Masters Tournaments and 14 Kentucky Derbies. Verdi has authored books on Hull, Mikita, Jim McMahon, Harry Caray and Don Drysdale, along with “The Bob Verdi Collection.”
Verdi was honored with the 2012 Memorial Golf Journalism Award at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament. In 2004, he received the PGA of America Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism, which honors members of the media for their steadfast promotion of golf both locally and nationally throughout their career. He has also been inducted into Lake Forest College’s Forester Athletic Hall of Fame (1988) and the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame (2005).
Named in honor of the late Montreal newspaper reporter, the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award was first presented in 1984 by the Professional Hockey Writers Association in recognition of distinguished members of the hockey writing profession whose words have brought honor to journalism and to the game of hockey.
Verdi will receive the award at the Hockey Hall of Fame NHL Media Awards Luncheon in Toronto on Monday, November 14, 2016, and his award plaque will be displayed in the Esso Great Hall at the Hockey Hall of Fame alongside past award recipients. Recipients of this award, as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, are recognized by the Hockey Hall of Fame as “Media Honourees” ─ a separate distinction from individuals inducted as “Honoured Members” who are elected by the Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee.