Tonight will be a very special night for Doug Gilmour, Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk and Mark Howe as they will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Since this site primarily deals with hockey media, I thought it would be prudent to mention a couple of other people who will be honored and are somewhat overshadowed.
Mickey Redmond will be honored with the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster. While most people identify Redmond as the voice of the Detroit Red Wings, it should be noted that he spent several years at CBC. Additionally, he was one of the first NHL on Fox game analysts and he also appeared on ESPN, ABC and USA.
Many people like to call Mick a homer, and it’s true that he often goes too far but he’s a legend in the business. His “Mickeyisms” have made him a fan favorite. Here’s a couple of news stories about the honor -
From the The Detroit News -
“When I got the call about the award, it really didn’t hit me,” Redmond said. “And then, the biggest thing was the wording of the press release. It said it was for outstanding contributions to the game.
“So, for me to get recognized for giving back to the game and helping the game continue is a very, very special feeling because it’s a reflection of my mother and dad.”
The start of Mickey Redmond’s long NHL broadcasting career was purely accidental.
He had attempted a comeback as a player in 1979, but that was cut short after two weeks due to back problems. When he returned home, he received a phone call from a friend who asked if he was interested in doing color commentary for 15 Detroit Red Wings games.
Just like that, he was back in the game.
“I said, ‘Well, why not? I have nothing to lose,’” Redmond said. “So I did, and here we are 32 years later. Kind of crazy, but it was a pure accident, for sure.”
Chance may have kick-started his second career after a standout nine-year playing career with Montreal and Detroit, but his insight, wit and overall likability are the reasons he still is doing it to this day.
I’m not nearly as familiar with Terry Jones as I am Redmond. I grew up watching Redmond. I’ve only been reading Terry Jones since the internet came along. That said, it’s quite clear why Jones is considered one of Canada’s top sports columnists. Jones will be receiving the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award in recognition of distinguished members of the newspaper profession whose words have brought honor to journalism and to hockey. This award is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association which must make the award that much sweeter. Jones’ son Shane, and Toronto Sun scribe Steve Simmons wrote tributes to Jones this weekend.
By Shane Jones -
I first realized I wanted to enter into the family sports-writing business on the same day it looked like Dad wanted out.
It was August 9, 1988.
Hockey fans in Edmonton may find that date familiar.
I was on a graduation-present trip with my dad to Missouri where I planned to see my sporting hero, George Brett, play a few games with the Kansas City Royals.
We were just departing Hillbilly Vegas Ñ Branson, as the locals call it Ñ when Dad had a weird premonition that he had better check in with the office at the Edmonton Sun.
“We have tried phoning every hotel in Missouri,” he was told. “Wayne Gretzky has been traded!”
It was arguably the biggest moment in Edmonton sports history, and Terry Jones was standing at a pay phone at a 7-11 in the Ozarks.
He had heard rumblings that something was in the wind with the Oilers, but had received assurances from all involved that he was safe to take his baseball-loving son on a sojourn to the States.
That stung, but what sent dad into absolute shock was the knowledge that he was contractually obligated to produce a follow-up book to his best-selling The Great Gretzky series within 30 days if hockey’s shining star was traded or retired.
He was on absolute auto-pilot as he drove to our hotel in Joplin.
I grabbed a note pad and started interviewing him to shake him from his stupor.
“OK, I guess this is Messier’s team now,” I said. “What happens with Jari Kurri?” And so forth.
After each question I posed, dad would rattle off a paragraph or so for me to write down, and by the time we got to the hotel, the bones for a column were pretty much there.
He went up and wrote it while I sat in the rental car, listening to the Royals game I wasn’t going to make it to.
The nickname has always been perfect. Large. It tells you who he is, what he is, what his career in sports writing has been all about, what kind of impact he has left on the industry.
You have to be Large to be honoured by the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The stories of our hockey life that have mattered most were things we watched on television, heard on radio, purchased in video. My friend, Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun, whose work often appears in the Toronto Sun, didn’t need any of that. He was there to chronicle the dynasties of the Edmonton Oilers and before that the New York Islanders. He was there when Mario scored in ’87 and when Sidney scored in 2010 — and for so many memorable goals and moments in between.
For most of us, those are the where-were-you moments of your own personal hockey history: For Large, he knows where he was. He was there. In the press box, in the dressing room and in the bar, usually in that order. Telling the story quicker and better than anyone in the business. Somehow having the remarkable talent when the clock was ticking fastest and closest to deadline of finding the angle that succinctly told the story too many of us missed.
Congrats to all the honorees. Just a reminder, you can watch the inductions starting at 7:30 PM eastern on TSN2 in Canada and on NHL Network in the United States.