MONTREAL, QC.– Cherry. McKenzie. Houde.
These names are familiar in the hockey world but not because you find them on the back of an NHL jersey or in the nightly boxscore. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are people behind the microphones, in front of the cameras, and the ones writing the stories who add to your hockey experience through their reporting. But just who are your favourites?
A few months ago, All Habs Hockey Magazine was approached to conduct an web survey of hockey fans to rate the traditional media. Why All Habs? Well, according to CapGeek.com, we are the No. 2 new media website in hockey reporting, and when you include all the mainstream folks, All Habs is ranked No. 11.
Dubbed “the monster of the ‘Net” by the Edmonton Journal, All Habs was deemed to have the online presence to sample fan opinions on our friends in the mainstream media. With that challenge, we launched our first annual All Habs Media Awards. It was our little way of recognizing the fine work done by those who work as radio, television and print journalists and broadcasters.
We rounded up a blue ribbon panel to establish award categories and nominate the candidates. We heard from you about individuals and websites that were left out — most of you no longer make a distinction between traditional and new media sources, but instead simply seek out the best coverage you can find on the Canadiens and NHL hockey. Not to worry, we will be making changes for the second annual edition of the awards.
Unfortunately, the winners did not get whisked to Las Vegas for a lavish awards party but did receive a handsome medalion and certificate signifying their accomplishment.
So, who picked up the hardware? (@WinterLions calls them the “All Habbies!”)
Here are your choices for the 2011 All Habs Media Awards.
► Lorne “Gump” Worsley Award for favourite Montreal sports radio personality
Gump Worsley was known as one of the most colourful players in hockey yet his goaltending earned him entrance to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1980. The broadcaster winning this award will combine the best of hockey information and entertainment.
Winner: Mitch Melnick (73% of the votes)
Runner-up: Tony Marinaro
Also nominated: Andie Bennett, Ron Fournier, Barry Morgan, Jean-Charles Lajoie
► Dick Duff Award for favourite Montreal sports radio guest
Dick Duff was not a first-liner but he known as an impact player, and a clutch performer when it came to playoff time. Similar to Duff, radio guests have a short time to make their points and leave a lasting impression. The winner of this award will emulate the best qualities of Duff.
Winner: Chris Nilan (35% of the votes)
Runner-up: Bob McKenzie
Also nominated: Pierre McGuire, Elliotte Friedman, Stephen Brunt, Norman Flynn
► Red Fisher Award for favourite Montreal-based hockey writer
Red Fisher is closing in on a half-century of covering the Canadiens and is the role model for most mainstream hockey writers in Montreal.
Winner: Arpon Basu (59% of the votes)
Runner-up (tie): Brian Wilde, Dave Stubbs
Also nominated: Francois Gagnon, Pat Hickey, Marc Antoine Godin
► Red Burnett Award for favourite national hockey writer
Red Burnett was one of the most knowledgeable hockey writers and an icon in sports journalism. The winner of this award is knowledgeable, opinionated and passionate in their writing following in Burnett’s footsteps.
Winner: Elliotte Friedman (62% of the votes)
Runner-up: James Mirtle
Also nominated: Pierre Lebrun, Bruce Arthur, Eric Duhatschek, Eric Francis
► Rene Lecavalier Award for favourite Canadiens broadcaster
Rene Lecavalier was the golden voice that Quebeckers relied on for coverage of the Canadiens for more than 30 years. The winner of this category can hope to captivate Habs fans with their description of the most beloved sport in the province.
Winner: Pierre Houde (41% of the votes)
Runner-up: Rick Moffat
Also nominated: Sergio Momesso, Danny Dube, martin McGuire, Benoit Brunet
► Danny Gallivan Award for favourite national play-by-play person
There was no one who could more colourfully describe a hockey game than Danny Gallivan spawning a whole new set of phrases to the hockey lexicon. Gallivan moved and excited fans setting the gold standard as a goal for the winner of this category.
Winner: Gord Miller (44% of the votes)
Runner-up: Jim Hughson
Also nominated: Chris Cuthbert, Bob Cole, Mike Emrick, Dave Randorf
► Dick Irvin Jr. Award for favourite national colour commentator
Dick Irvin displayed the epitome of class in his role and incredible timing as he sprinkled gems of knowledge and interest throughout the broadcast. The award winner should be a compliment not a distraction to the hockey coverage.
Winner: Pierre McGuire (49% of the votes)
Runner-up: Mike Johnson
Also nominated: Ray Ferraro, Craig Simpson, Eddie Olczyk, Gary Galley
► Scotty Bowman Award for favourite national analyst
While Scotty Bowman was only a hockey analyst for a short period of time in his storied career, there are few who can break down the game better. The winner of this category can dissect, describe the game and effectively communicate his message to all hockey fans.
Winner: Bob McKenzie (54% of the votes)
Runner-up: Kelly Hrudey
Also nominated: Don Cherry, Darren Dreger, Nick Kypreos, Mike Milbury
Congratulations to the winners! Watch for the 2012 All Habs Media Awards ballots coming in March.