Veteran NHL broadcasters and AHL alumni Mike Emrick and John Davidson were honored earlier this week with the NHL’s 2004 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 as a player, coach, and general manager, and was a pioneer in the sport’s development.
Among those eligible to win the award are players, coaches, broadcasters, referees and linesmen, as well as team and League executives. With the addition of Emrick, Davidson, and Ray Miron, 98 individuals now have been honored. Three United States Olympic hockey teams also have been recognized: the 1960 and 1980 gold medal-winning men’s teams and the 1998 gold medal-winning women’s team.
Emrick has been familiar to NHL fans across the United States for nearly 20 years, serving as a play-by-play voice on the NHL’s Fox and ABC telecasts since 1995. Emrick’s national credits also include the past 16 Stanley Cup Playoffs, seven Stanley Cup Finals, five NHL All-Star Games, three Olympic Winter Games and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.
“Doc” was the play-by-play voice and public relations director for the AHL’s Maine Mariners from 1977-80, calling the action for two Calder Cup championship teams (1978, 1979). He went on to call games for the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, and is now in his 14th season as the lead television play-by-play man for the New Jersey Devils, working all three of the Devils’ Stanley Cup-winning seasons. Emrick received a National Cable TV Ace Award in 1999, as well as three Emmy Awards for the New York region (1996, 1999, 2002).
Emrick also is no stranger to the Lester Patrick Awards Luncheon: he has emceed the event 14 times and has served as a member of its selection committee on three occasions.
Davidson has appeared on all four major American networks’ hockey coverage, and currently is ABC’s lead studio analyst. He also has served as the color commentator on New York Rangers telecasts for Madison Square Garden Network for the past 18 seasons.
“J.D.” was drafted in 1975 by St. Louis, and his goaltending career included three stints in the AHL with the New Haven Nighthawks and Springfield Indians. After two years with the Blues, he moved on to the Rangers, where he became one of New York’s most popular and celebrated athletes of his era. Forced into retirement by injury in 1983, Davidson quickly and smoothly made the shift into broadcasting.
He served as an analyst for MSG Network in 1983-84 before joining the Hockey Night in Canada crew for two seasons. In 1986-87, Davidson returned to MSG, where he continues to call Rangers games today.
Davidson has been paired with Emrick on several national broadcasts in the United States. They comprised Fox’s lead play-by-play team from 1995-1999, and worked in tandem the 1992, 1994, and 1998 Olympic Winter Games. Widely hailed as one of the most knowledgeable men associated with the sport, Davidson has twice won New York Emmy awards for “Outstanding On-Camera Achievement.”