NEW YORK --
|Brian Leetch will be among the recipients of the 2007 Lester Patrick Award, to be handed out at a luncheon in New York on November 7.
Nine-time NHL All-Star Brian Leetch
, U.S. Olympic gold and silver medalist Cammi Granato, prolific writer and broadcaster Stan Fischler and longtime communications executive and historian John Halligan have been named recipients of the 2007 Lester Patrick
Award for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.
The award, one of the most prestigious in hockey, was presented to the National Hockey League by the New York Rangers
in 1966. It honors the memory of Lester Patrick
, who spent 50 years in hockey as a player, coach, and general manager, and was a pioneer in the sport’s development.
The recipients will be honored at the 2007 Lester Patrick
Awards Luncheon Nov. 7 in New York. Further details on the event will be announced at a later date.
A gifted skater and playmaker, Brian Leetch
was one of hockey's most exciting players and among the top defensemen of his generation. Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and raised in Connecticut, Leetch was a two-year prep star at Avon Old Farms and a prized recruit for Boston College, where he became the first freshman in NCAA history to be named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the top U.S. college player in 1986-87.
He joined the U.S. national team in 1987-88 and played in the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary before making his debut with the New York Rangers
following the tournament. In an 18-year pro career from 1988-2006, Leetch captured the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 1988-89, won two Norris Trophies as the League's best defenseman (1992, 1997) and made nine All-Star Game appearances. In 1994, he became the first U.S.-born player to earn the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, helping the Rangers capture their first championship since 1940.
Leetch skated in three Olympic Games (1988, 1998 and 2002), winning the silver medal at Salt Lake City in his final appearance. He won a bronze medal at the 1986 World Junior Championship and captained the United States team that defeated Canada to win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.
Leetch announced his retirement from the NHL in May, 2007 with 1,028 points (247 goals, 781 assists) in 1,205 regular-season games with the Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs
and Boston Bruins
. He holds the Rangers' franchise record for career assists (741) and ranks second in career points (981) and games (1,129).
The Rangers will retire Leetch's No. 2 jersey prior to their game against the Atlanta Thrashers
at Madison Square Garden Jan. 24.
* * *
Cammi Granato's successful playing career, particularly at the international level, has played a key role in the growth of women's hockey.
|A member of the U.S. Women's National Team beginning in 1990, Cammi Granato is the program's all-time scoring leader.
Granato began playing hockey as a five-year-old, skating in the backyard of her Downers Grove, Illinois, home with her sister and three brothers, including future NHL star Tony Granato
. Unable to play in a league with girls her age, she joined a boys' team and went on to earn a scholarship at Providence College, where she established goal-scoring records and captured ECAC Player of the Year honors from 1991-93.
A member of the U.S. Women's National Team beginning in 1990, Granato is the program's all-time scoring leader. She achieved international fame by captaining the U.S. team to a gold medal at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, the first year women could compete in ice hockey. The gold medal game, a nationally-broadcast 3-1 victory over archrival Canada, brought unprecedented exposure to the sport and inspired a surge in girls' hockey participation. Granato earned the honor of carrying the U.S. flag at the Games' Closing Ceremonies.
Four years later, she captained the United States to a silver medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
Granato also worked as commentator for Los Angeles Kings
radio broadcasts in 1998-99, becoming the second female broadcaster in League history, and for NBC in its coverage of the NHL and the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy.
earned him the familiar and well-deserved title as 'The Hockey Maven.'
The Brooklyn, New York, native's writing has brought hockey's rich tradition, legends and personalities to many generations of readers. With the help of his wife Shirley, Fischler has authored or co-authored more than 90 books on the game, including “The Hockey Encyclopedia,” “Everybody's Hockey Book,” “The New NHL Encyclopedia” and “MetroIce: A Century of Hockey in Greater New York."
* * *
Stan Fischler's work as a writer, broadcaster and historian for more than half a century has earned him the familiar and well-deserved title as 'The Hockey Maven.'
The Brooklyn, New York, native's writing has brought hockey's rich tradition, legends and personalities to many generations of readers. With the help of his wife Shirley, Fischler has
|Stan Fischler, left, has been involved in hockey for over half a century, earning him the familiar title 'The Hockey Maven.'
authored or co-authored more than 90 books on the game, including “The Hockey Encyclopedia,” “Everybody's Hockey Book,” “The New NHL Encyclopedia” and “MetroIce: A Century of Hockey in Greater New York."
Fischler began his writing career in the 1950s, working for the Brooklyn Eagle and the New York Journal-American, and later served as New York bureau chief for the Toronto Star from 1966-77. He also has written for The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Sport Magazine, Newsweek and Hockey Digest, and continues to publish the weekly hockey newsletter, The Fischler Report.
A fixture to television viewers in the New York metropolitan area for over 30 years, Fischler has appeared on hockey broadcasts involving the region's NHL clubs since March, 1975, when he joined SportsChannel New York, now FSN New York. He currently provides analysis for New York Rangers
telecasts on the MSG Network and conducts studio interviews and pre- and post-game features for the New York Islanders
and New Jersey Devils
on FSN. Fischler has received three Sports Emmy Awards for his work.
* * *
John Halligan has spent the past 44 years as a public relations executive, author, historian and archivist with the New York Rangers
and the National Hockey League. Halligan joined the
New York Rangers
|John Halligan has spent the past 44 years as a public relations executive, author, historian and archivist with the New York Rangers and the National Hockey League.
in 1963 and over a 24-year career served as the club's Public Relations Director, Business Manager and Vice President of Communications.
Halligan brought his PR expertise to the National Hockey League in a 20-year career from 1983-86 and 1990-2006 as Director of Communications and Special Projects. He also served as Director of Communications for NHL Anniversaries, the group which coordinated the League's 75th anniversary celebration in 1991 and Stanley Cup centennial in 1993.
He has earned many professional and civic honors, including awards from the Public Relations Society of America, the City of New York, the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and the Metropolitan New York Hockey Writers Association, and has served on the selection committee of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame for the past 17 years.
Halligan is the author of several books, including “New York Rangers
: Seventy-Five Years,” "Images of Sport: New York Rangers
," and "The Game of My Life: New York Rangers
." He currently is working on multiple publishing projects.