NHL

The next Foster Hewitt Award Winner will be selected in 2024; NHL broadcasts

 

Four years ago, I wrote a piece for Sports Broadcast Journal talking about the Foster Hewitt Award, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s annual honor for broadcasters and listing some candidates who should be in contention for the award in the future.

With the award to be announced in June during the Stanley Cup Finals, I thought I would list 12 active announcers who have done enough to warrant consideration from the NHL Broadcasters’ Association. Unfortunately, studio personalities are not considered for this award, so longtime Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean will not be on this list, though he is as synonymous with hockey broadcasting in Canada as any play-by-play announcer.

Active Foster Hewitt recipients include Detroit Red Wings color commentator Mickey Redmond (2011), Los Angeles Kings announcer Nick Nickson (2015), New York Rangers TV voice Sam Rosen (2016), Toronto Maple Leafs voice Joe Bowen (2018), and San Jose Sharks radio broadcaster Dan Rusanowsky (2023).

This list is in alphabetical order.

Kenny Albert: Lead play-by-play announcer for TNT, as well as the radio voice of the New York Rangers since 1995. Broadcast for the Washington Capitals in the early 1990s. Was NBC’s #1 as well following Doc Emrick’s retirement. The workhorse has tried his hand at many sports, but hockey is his favorite.

Joe Beninati: Full-time voice of the Washington Capitals on television since 1996. Was once the #2 play-by-play man for Versus. Came up through the minor leagues. Known for chemistry with analyst Craig Laughlin and his large collection of suits.

Chris Cuthbert: Lead Hockey Night in Canada and Toronto Maple Leafs announcer since 2021, served in the same role with TSN for 15 seasons before that. Was HNIC’s #2 for over a decade before his TSN stint. Has called three Stanley Cup Finals and counting, as well as two Olympic finals.

Ken Daniels: Television voice of the Detroit Red Wings since 1997, worked for Hockey Night in Canada and the Toronto Maple Leafs for almost a decade prior to that. Has formed an iconic duo in Detroit with Foster Hewitt winner Mickey Redmond.

Ray Ferraro: Lead analyst for ESPN, also is a color commentator for the Vancouver Canucks. Was TSN’s lead color man through 2021, and for the Edmonton Oilers after his playing career. Widely regarded as the best today at his position.

John Forslund: Television play-by-play announcer for the Seattle Kraken, was with the Hartford/Carolina franchise from 1995 until 2020. Sometimes works for TNT, was with NBC when they had the rights. Known for his long list of catchphrases.

Randy Hahn: Full-time television broadcaster for the San Jose Sharks since 1993, but has been working for the team since before they played their first game. Has broadcast plenty of national games as well. Very popular in the Bay Area.

Pierre Houde: French television announcer for the Montreal Canadiens since 1989. Called 11 Stanley Cup Finals for RDS. No Francophone broadcaster has been given this award since Gilles Tremblay in 2002, so it’s time for the popular Houde to be given a look.

Gord Miller: #1 hockey announcer for TSN and its coverage of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators, occasionally works for ESPN during the playoffs and previously called games for NBC. Known to many as the “Voice of International Hockey.”

Eddie Olczyk: Lead color commentator for TNT and the Seattle Kraken. Has also served in that role for NBC, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Pittsburgh Penguins since his retirement as a player, minus a brief coaching stint in the mid-2000s. Has worked all but one Stanley Cup Final on American television since 2007. Known for his use of the telestrator.

Darren Pang: Color commentator for the Chicago Blackhawks and TNT, has previously worked for the St. Louis Blues, then-Phoenix Coyotes, and multiple national networks. One-time NHL goalie is known for his high-energy style.

Pete Weber: Radio broadcaster for the Nashville Predators, has been with the team both on TV and radio since their first season in 1998. Was the Buffalo Sabres’ radio announcer from 1995 to 1997. Called his 2,000th Predators game in November of 2023.

List of actual Hewitt winners to date:

1984 Foster Hewitt Toronto
1984 Fred Cusick Boston
1984 Danny Gallivan Montreal
1984 Rene Lecavalier Montreal
1985 Budd Lynch Detroit
1985 Doug Smith Montreal
1986 Wes McKnight Toronto
1986 Lloyd Pettit Chicago
1987 Bob Wilson Boston
1988 Dick Irvin Montreal
1989 Dan Kelly St. Louis
1990 Jiggs McDonald Various
1991 Bruce Martyn Detroit
1992 Jim Robson Vancouver
1993 Al Shaver Minnesota
1994 Ted Darling Buffalo
1995 Brian McFarlane Hockey Night in Canada
1996 Bob Cole Toronto
1997 Gene Hart Philadelphia
1998 Howie Meeker Hockey Night in Canada
1999 Richard Garneau Quebec
2000 Bob Miller Los Angeles
2001 Mike Lange Pittsburgh
2002 Gilles Tremblay Montreal
2003 Rod Phillips Edmonton
2004 Chuck Kaiton Hartford/Carolina
2005 Sal Messina New York
2006 Peter Maher Calgary
2007 Bill Hewitt Toronto
2008 Mike Emrick Versus/NBC
2009 John Davidson St. Louis
2010 Ron Weber Washington
2011 Mickey Redmond Detroit
2012 Rick Jeanneret Buffalo
2013 Harry Neale Hockey Night Canada
2014 Pat Foley Chicago
2015 Nick Nickson Los Angeles
2016 Sam Rosen New York
2017 Dave Strader ESPN/ABC/NBC/Florida/Ariz
2018 Joe Bowen Toronto
2019 Jim Hughson TSN/Sportsnet/Hockey 
2020 Rick Peckham Hartford/ESPN/SportsChannel 
2022 Bill Clement ESPN/NBC/ABC/TNT
2023 Dan Rusanowsky San Jose

 

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Jake Baskin

Jake Baskin is a graduate of Dean College who majored in sports broadcasting. He does play-by-play for Northeast Sports Network and previously wrote about hockey for various SB Nation blogs. He loves the history and evolution of sports broadcasting and dreams of being a national-level announcer.

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