Frank Brown, a longtime hockey writer and NHL communications executive, will receive the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism from the Hockey Hall of Fame. Recipients of the annual award are selected by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
Jim Hughson, best known for play-by-play work with the Vancouver Canucks and "Hockey Night in Canada," will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, selected by the NHL Broadcasters' Association for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.
They will be honored at the Hockey Hall of Fame NHL Media Awards Luncheon in Toronto on Nov. 18.
Brown's professional writing career began in 1970 at the age of 18, when his first story appeared in a New York Rangers game-night program. He spent seven seasons as the lead hockey writer for The Associated Press, covering the Montreal Canadiens' dynasty years in the late 1970s and the United States "Miracle On Ice" team at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. Brown joined the New York Daily News in 1980 and spent the next 18 years covering all three New York-area NHL teams, including Stanley Cup championships won by the New York Islanders, Rangers and New Jersey Devils. He joined the NHL as a communications executive in 1998 and retired last year.
"It's overwhelming," Brown said. "It's very unusual for somebody who made his living finding the right words, finding the best words, to find the words now to describe the feelings that I'm experiencing through this recognition by my peers. It's not something that you sense externally. It's so much of an internal sense of just affirmation, appreciation … just real appreciation for the fact that pretty much I now have a retired byline.
"The players are blessed to have numbers retired. My Professional Hockey Writers' Association card is retired, but the closest thing you get to a banner in the rafters is a plaque in the Hall of Fame. I'm utterly speechless."
Brown said he's already working on his speech.
"Deadline pressure is something that I've spent a lifetime adjusting to," he said. "There were so many times during my newspaper career when I had a 'parking lot' lead, that is the lead that comes to you on the way to your car after you've filed one that's not even close to as good. There is no room for a parking lot lead for the comments I will be making in November. The sense of urgency is already very much in place. A five-alarm fire is already burning on my keyboard."
PHWA president Mark Spector praised Brown's ability to break news and tell stories.
"He stayed true to his tabloid roots with punchy prose, scoops and leads that reminded you that you were reading the New York Daily News," Spector said. "But in his time covering literally every important story between the Islanders dynasty [in the 1980s] and the Rangers [Stanley Cup] win in '94, he also told hockey's stories exceptionally well."
Hughson began broadcasting hockey in the South Peace Hockey League in his hometown of Fort St John, British Columbia. That led to a 30-year career, calling games on radio and TV at every level. A 10-time nominee and four-time recipient of the Gemini/Canadian screen award as Canada's top play-by-play announcer. Hughson has called the Stanley Cup Final, IIHF World Junior Championship, Winter Olympics and World Cup of Hockey.
"Jim Hughson has been an exemplary broadcaster on both the local and national levels for many years since his days with Vancouver Canucks," said Chuck Kaiton, president of the NHL Broadcasters' Association. "Jim is an excellent broadcaster and a very deserving recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award."
Frank Brown photos courtesy JUSTIN BERL