Thursday, March 18, 2010

Podcast: A Tribute to John Halligan

We pause to recall John Halligan, afriend and a true professional, who passed away on January 20, 2010 at the age of 68.

A giant in the world of hockey, he spent 21 years with the New York Rangers as their Director of Public Relations and Business Manager (Starting in 1963). He later spent a short stint at the N.H.L. as Director of Communications, then went back to the Rangers as Vice President of Communications. He next became Director of Communications for N.H.L. Anniversaries, helping plan and execute the league’s 75th anniversary celebrations in 1991, and the 100th anniversary of the Stanely Cup in 1993, and then Director of Commuications and Special Projects for the N.H.L.

In 2007, following his retirement, he was saluted for his lifetime of service by being presented teh Lester Patrick Award, reognizing his outstanding contributions to hockey in the United States.

As importantly, he was a “tower of strength” as an individual. Ralph Mellanby (from Hockey Night in Canada and the Olympic) described John as “the gold standard”.

Personally, I was one of many for who he provided time, patience, direction and encouragement.

In this Journey into Hockey, we recall the life and legacy of John Halligan with Ranger and network broadcaster Kenny Albert, as well as with longtime hockey journalist Stu Hackel, these days of The New York Times.

Podcast: A Journey into Hockey - Brian McFarlane’s Life in the Booth

Brian McFarlane is one of hockey’s most familiar names.

As a broadcaster, he speant over 25 years with Hockey Night in Canada, and has worked on network telecasts for CBS, NBC, and ESPN. He is also one of North America’s foremost hockey historians and prolific hockey writers. In all, he is author of more than 50 books of hockey, many of them bestsellers.

In this Journey into Hockey, we speak with Brian McFarlane about his most recent work – From The Broadcast Booth, My Life in Hockey Broadcasting (Fenn, 2009), which chronicles some of the interesting people and events in his long career.

Podcast: The Western Hockey League, 1948-1974

Technically it was a minor league, but for hockey fans west of the Mississippi, the Western Hockey League provided major-league entertainment for over 25 years.

Known as the Pacific Coast Hockey League prior to the W.H.L., the league aspired to establish itself as North America’s second major league of hockey, a western counter-part to the Eastern-oriented N.H.L. But it never quite managed to make the jump to the majors.

In its time, though there were some 22 teams based in major American and Canadian cities.

In this Journey into Hockey, Jon C. Stott, Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta and a hockey historian, speaks with us about his book, Ice Warriors – The Pacific Coast/Western Hockey League – 1948-1974 (Heritage House, 2008).

The book provides a play-by-play of the Western Hocket League, its start, how it came to rival the N.H.L, and what led to its disbanding in 1974. By interviewing former players, coaches, and fans, and examining statistical records, Stott captures the W.H.L.’s glory days and pays tribute to a time when hockey was played with heart.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Podcast: Canada’s Olympic Hockey History

Canada added a new and important page to its hockey and national history in the recently completed Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.

The men’s hockey team overtime final win for the gold against the U.S. is already a classic. The tournament was thrilling throughout. And, the women provided an equally inspiring level of skill and commitment. Their accomplishments are second to none.

These recently completed games are but the most recent chapter in a story that started close to a cenury ago.

Andrew Podnieks, author of more than 50 books on hockey, has chronicled the history of Canadian Olympic hockey in his book, Canada’s Olympic Hockey History, 1920-2010 (Fenn; 2009).

It’s a fascinating and diverse story. Canada’s Olympic hockey team has taken many twists and turns over the years.

In this Journey intio Hockey, we speak with Andrew Podnieks about his book and the history it chronicles.

As Canada celebrates the wins of 2010, the earlier contributions of the likes of William Hewitt, Father David Bauer, Dave King and Cassie Campbell should not be forgotten.

Broadcast: February 15 (Before Canada’s 2010 wins)