Of the 54, none have ever worked covering the Philadelphia Flyers.
That will change next Fall.
Long-time Flyers beat writer Jay Greenberg, who covered the team for 14 years (1975-1989) for both the Philadelphia Evening and Sunday Bulletin and eventually the Philadelphia Daily News, will become the 55th member of that exclusive club, voted as the 2013 recipient of the Ferguson Award by a bloc of his peers in the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association.
"Jay Greenberg is the ultimate hockey writer," said Philadelphia Flyers Chairman Ed Snider. "His incredible knowledge of the game combined with his dynamic style of chasing a story makes him one of the truly best writers to ever cover our sport.
"I remember when Jay was really just getting started when he covered our early years. He also penned 'Full Spectrum,' a wonderful story about the first 30 years our franchise. I'm proud to welcome Jay into the Hockey Hall of Fame. It is a well-deserved honor."
Greenberg will be inducted, along with Buffalo Sabres color analyst Harry Neale, the recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award – an identical distinction as the Ferguson, except for broadcasters – at a ceremony in Toronto Nov. 11.
The late Gene Hart and Mike “Doc” Emrick, both worked as Flyers broadcasters, are prior winners of the Hewitt.
“It probably means the most to me that my election is from my peers,” said Greenberg, who was in the middle of a cross-country road trip with his daughter when contacted. “It’s been a while since I did the beat regularly so to be remembered for having done that means a lot to me.”
After leaving Philadelphia professionally, Greenberg worked as a reporter for Sports Illustrated and a featured columnist for The Hockey News, the Toronto Sun and the New York Post.
He began his professional career at the Kansas City Star where he covered the Kansas City Scouts in their inaugural 1974-75 NHL season.
Here is the official press release:
Chuck Kaiton, President of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association, and Kevin Allen, President of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, announced today that HARRY NEALE will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster, and JAY GREENBERG will receive the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism.
Harry Neale used the insights gathered over a 20-year coaching career to become one of North America's most popular hockey analysts.
After coaching stints at Ohio State University, in the World Hockey Association and with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings, Neale turned to broadcasting in 1986.
Starting at CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, Neale combined a deep knowledge of the game with a unique and humorous approach that endeared him to hockey fans. While with Hockey Night the native of Sarnia, Ontario, covered three Olympic Games, two World Cups of Hockey and countless important NHL games. For the past six years Neale has served as a broadcast analyst with the Buffalo Sabres.
“Harry has entertained millions of hockey fans in the United States and Canada for close to thirty years,” said Kaiton. “His unique brand of humor and insight has been memorable. He is extremely worthy of this honor and the NHL Broadcasters' Association applauds him for his great work in all aspects of hockey.”
Greenberg's first NHL writing experience was at the Kansas City Star, covering the city's NHL team during its inaugural season. The Johnstown, Pa. native then covered the Philadelphia Flyers for 14 years.
His renowned copy skills and in-depth analysis of the team produced an avid readership, and led to several non-fiction books focused on the Flyers.
“Full Spectrum,” one of the most complete histories of a team ever done, was published in 1996.
“Gordie Howe’s Son: A Hall of Fame Life in the Shadow of Mr. Hockey” (co-authored with Honored Member, Mark Howe) will be published in October, 2013.
Greenberg's 40-year writing career has also included a high-profile post at Sports Illustrated, a featured column in The Hockey News, and general sports columnist roles at both the Toronto Sun and New York Post.
"During the prime of Jay's career, he was probably the best NHL beat writer in America," said Allen. "He was both a gifted writer and a thorough reporter. It was a treat to read his NHL coverage."
Neale and Greenberg will receive their awards at a luncheon presentation in Toronto on Monday, November 11, and their award plaques will be displayed in the Esso Great Hall at the Hockey Hall of Fame alongside the 88 past award recipients.
Recipients of these awards, as selected by their respective associations, are recognized by the Hockey Hall of Fame as “Media Honorees” ─ a separate distinction from individuals inducted as “Honored Members” by the Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
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.
Named in honor of the late “Voice of Hockey” in Canada, the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award was first presented in 1984 by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association in recognition of members of the radio and television industry who have made outstanding contributions to their profession and to the game of hockey.