“And this one will last a lifetime!”
A phrase that can now be attached to TWO monumental events during the illustrious broadcast career of Sam Rosen. His game-ending call on MSG Network on June 14, 1994 as the Rangers captured their first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years, and now Sam’s inclusion in the Hockey Hall of Fame as the 2016 winner of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for excellence in hockey broadcasting.
Vin Scully was the face of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the last 67 years. Sam Rosen is the Rangers’ Vin Scully. His energy and passion, as well as his love of the Rangers, has been welcomed into the living rooms of all Blueshirts fans for more than 30 years. First as a backup play-by-play announcer and studio host, and since 1984, as the television voice of the New York Rangers.
Sam has enjoyed great chemistry with all three of his color analysts: two seasons with Phil Esposito, two decades with John Davidson (including the magical spring of 1994), and the last 11 campaigns with Joe Micheletti. Sam and JD were the last local TV broadcasters to call a Stanley Cup Final. Beginning in 1995, the Cup Final has been carried solely on national airwaves.
A couple little-known facts about Sam Rosen: he was one of the original voices of hockey on ESPN. And, he was at the mic during the “Miracle on Ice” in Lake Placid when Team USA upset the Soviets on February 22, 1980, calling the action and filing reports for UPI Radio.
Sam’s love of the Rangers and enthusiasm for the sport of hockey is unmatched. He is just as excited to attend a morning skate prior to a November regular season game as he is for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. He enjoys schmoozing about hockey with team trainers, stick boys, and arena security guards, as much as with star players and head coaches. His plaque at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto will forever be seen by the millions of hockey fans who visit annually. It is surrounded by a myriad of broadcasting legends, including previous recipients Davidson (2009) and long-time Rangers radio analyst (my partner in the booth for seven seasons), Sal “Red Light” Messina (2005).
It was a thrill to attend the induction luncheon in Toronto on Monday, during which long-time Chicago sportswriter Bob Verdi was also honored as the 2016 winner of the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award (for outstanding hockey journalism). Verdi grew up in New York and was a huge Rangers fan during his childhood. He attended Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington, Long Island, where he succeeded me as sports editor of the “Schreiber Times” by 20-something years. Following a tremendous newspaper career covering hockey, baseball, golf and numerous other sports, Verdi was hired in 2010 as the team historian for the Chicago Blackhawks. He has chronicled three Stanley Cup titles over the last seven years in the Windy City.
A ‘Who’s Who’ of the hockey world attended the ceremony in honor of Rosen and Verdi, including NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, Hall of Famers Bobby Hull, Denis Savard, Tony Esposito, Glenn Anderson, Bill Torrey, Jim Devellano, Jim Gregory, Bill McCreary, former Hewitt Award winners Davidson, Bob Miller, Pat Foley, Harry Neale and Chuck Kaiton, hockey writers past and present, including Bob McKenzie, Frank Orr, Frank Brown, Michael Farber, Eric Duhatschek, Scott Morrison, Steve Simmons and Jay Greenberg (many of whom are previous winners of the Ferguson Award), broadcasters Micheletti and John Shannon, and many other hockey executives and dignitaries.
As a teenager, I spent countless nights watching and listening to Sam Rosen call Rangers games. When I entered the world of professional hockey broadcasting in 1990, Sam became a peer who would often offer advice and guidance. For the last 21 years, since the 1995-96 season (my first with the Rangers), he has been a close friend and colleague. We have sat next to each other on hundreds of flights, at lunches, dinners, and numerous other team events, and have enjoyed each other’s company at annual NFL on FOX seminars in Los Angeles over the last two decades.
Congratulations, Sam. You are a huge credit to the Rangers, the sport of hockey, the broadcasting profession, and your friends and family. Enjoy it.
This one will last a lifetime!