TORONTO (June 29, 2020) - Frank Seravalli, President of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, and Chuck Kaiton, President of the NHL Broadcasters' Association, announced today that Tony Gallagher will receive the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism, and Rick Peckham will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.
Tony Gallagher is the first writer to win the award for a body of work exclusive to the Vancouver market. He became one of hockey's most influential voices in Western Canada in a career at The Province that spanned from 1970 - 2015. He was recruited by The Province out of the University of British Columbia in 1968. He was hired full-time in 1970 on high school sports before making the jump to hockey, covering the WHA's New Westminster Bruins and then the WHA's Vancouver Blazers. By 1976, Gallagher graduated to become the paper's lone beat writer on the Canucks. He was promoted to general columnist in 1987, where he continued to break news and stir the pot, and covered nearly 25 Stanley Cup Finals - including all three Canucks appearances."
"Tony Gallagher owned the Vancouver market in a time before the internet, when scoops lasted for 24 hours in a newspaper world where contact meant everything," Seravalli said. "He was uber-connected and over time became the voice for Western Canadian market that has always seemed to have a chip on its shoulder, sitting three time zones away from Toronto. Tony was the perfect writer for that constituency, never afraid to break a few eggs in writing his daily omelette. He fought for Canucks fans against perceived injustice by both the League or their team, becoming a media icon in his city and beyond."
Rick Peckham had broadcast professional hockey for 42 years before his retirement following the 2019-2020 season. For the last 24 seasons, he was the TV play-by-play voice of the Tampa Bay Lightning, joining the organization in 1995. Prior to that, he served in the same capacity for the Hartford Whalers for 11 seasons. During his illustrious career in the NHL, he has received four local Emmy Awards for his work on Fox Sports Sun and Sportschannel New England. The 1977 graduate of Kent State University served as the radio/TV voice of the Rochester Americans of the AHL for seven years.
"I have known Rick for 36 years, since his days covering the Hartford Whalers", said Kaiton. "Rick has had a most distinguished hockey broadcasting career, which deserves to be recognized by this honour. His longevity and excellence tell the story and passion for his profession came through each broadcast."
Gallagher and Peckham receive their awards at a luncheon tentatively scheduled on Monday, November 16th and their award plaques will be displayed in the Esso Great Hall at the Hockey Hall of Fame alongside past award recipients.
Recipients of these awards, as selected by their respective associations, 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. This year's inductees into Honoured Membership were announced on Wednesday, June 24, 2020.
The 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend is tentatively scheduled on Monday, November 16th in Toronto (preceded by the traditional slate of "Induction Weekend" events beginning on Friday, November 13th, including the annual "Hockey Hall of Fame Game" hosted by the Toronto Maple Leafs). Due to the continued fluidity of developments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic (including the NHL's Return to Play Plan, etc.), the Hall of Fame is not accepting ticket orders for the 2020 Induction at this time. Stay tuned for further announcements in the upcoming weeks which will be posted via HHOF.com and other HHOF social media platform.
"First of all, I'm extremely happy for him. This is a well-deserved honor. Rick Peckham has been a Hall of Fame broadcaster throughout his career, so it's fitting that now he's getting recognized and going into the Hall of Fame. In full candor, I don't hear a lot of the television broadcasts live, obviously, because I'm broadcasting at the same time, but I do catch rebroadcasts and so I've certainly heard him. The quality of his broadcasting is top notch. It's tight. It's crisp. He's on point. And I get a chance to see - not completely because he does a lot of preparation on his own - just being around him how much work he puts into his craft when he's not on the air. He has what appears to be a photographic memory when it comes to not just names and numbers but also intricate stats. When he sees something, he remembers it, and then he's able to use it within the context of the broadcast, which is not always easy to do. It's a real skill. And he does that extraordinarily well. When you put it all together, he's solid in terms of calling the play. He is incredible in his knowledge of the game and imparting that to the fan. The diligence with which he goes about his craft and the work he puts in every time he puts on a headset, he's giving the listener the full picture. The quality is Hall of Fame worthy. He is fully deserving of this honor, and I'm happy for him."
"Rick's dedication to his craft is unmistakable. He studies and prepares for every game, every day, in every way. There is no off-season for him. Always reading articles from around the league. Watching taped broadcasts to critique himself and to study opposing teams' numbers, style of skating or any other clue he can pick up to instantly recognize that player when he is doing a game. He has a very high standard for himself and the broadcast. He understands what it takes to be part of a high-level broadcast and what his role is including being selfless, allowing his partner time and room to do their job. You can't ask for anything more in a partner. I have witnessed that for five years. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have worked with a Hall of Famer. He worked his way up the "old-fashioned way." He earned it. Never took it for granted. Forty two years tells you something right there. Lightning fans have been fortunate for 24 of those years to listen and watch him display his craft to the highest level. Congratulations, Rick. Well done. Well deserved honor!"
"Artistically, factually, insightfully, Rick's descriptions of games have been exceptional for 40 years. He's brought honor to his craft and showcased the NHL in its best light to millions. He is a first-rate gentleman, family man and friend. Rick Peckham is the best of the best."
"Rick Peckham is the ultimate professional. Rick's dedication and preparation for his work is unparalleled to anyone in the business. As a player, I always had the upmost respect for Rick and the way he conducted himself. Now, as a broadcaster myself, I've learned so much from Rick, and our entire Fox crew benefitted from his leadership. Congratulations to you and your family! It's been a pleasure to work with you."
"I have had the pleasure of knowing Rick Peckham's work since he was calling games for the Rochester Americans back in the 1980s. I also have had the chance to coach the Hartford Whalers when Rick and the great Gerry Cheever's worked as a strong and entertaining tandem. It was always a pleasure to break down the Whalers tape from previous games and be able to hear Rick call the game. I will also cherish the different times I had the chance to broadcast games with Rick for NBC. He is a picture of professionalism and sincerity. Someone who cares about the game, the great fans of the game and amazing players who perform night in and night out at the highest level possible for hockey. Rick Peckham is a pro's pro. He is a tremendous persona and an outstanding broadcaster who has helped enhance every broadcast he has ever been a part of."
"Rick's contributions to our Tampa Bay Lightning broadcasts over the years have set the standard for excellence, all the while serving as a tremendous ambassador for the game of hockey to generations of fans," said FOX Sports Florida - FOX Sports Sun SVP / General Manager Steve Tello. "We proudly join the Lightning and Hockey Hall of Fame in celebrating Rick's illustrious career that spans more than 40 years, including 24 on our network, and congratulate him on this well-deserved place of honor."
Bobby "The Chief" Taylor
"One of the things I don't think people realize is what a great sense of humor he has. We used to laugh like crazy off the air. Sometimes during a commercial break, we'd have to take our headsets off at some of the things he would say. To me, he never had an ego. In our business, everybody has an ego. Rick really just went with the flow. He always had such a positive, relaxing demeanor. He was the most prepared guy I ever worked with. He had a great quote, I always tell people this, he says, 'Being a broadcaster is like studying for an exam. You have to learn a little bit about everything because you're never sure what's going to be on it.' And I found that to be so true. He was always a great guy to work with, and I'm so proud I got to call him my partner as well as my friend."