TORONTO — It was a momentuous day at the Mecca of Hockey. The Hockey Hall of Fame held their annual Induction Ceremony to close out the weekend where so many are reminded of why they love the game, bringing out the fans out in all of us.
While this year’s class of players was a prestigious group — Lidstrom, Fedorov, Pronger, Housley and Angela Ruggiero — there were those who have significantly contributed to the game in different capacities. Peter Karmanos, Jr., owner of the Carolina Hurricanes, was enshrined as was Elmer Lach Award winner Bob McKenzie for his tireless work and years of service as a hockey journalist. But behind the microphone, the prestigious Foster Hewitt Award was awarded this year to the longtime radio voice of the Los Angeles Kings, Nick Nickson.
I was able to catch up with Mr. Nickson on Monday evening as he was walking down the red carpet.
“It was a wonderful experience today,” said an elated Nickson. “Something obviously I’ll never forget. It was great to have all the people that have meant so much to me over the years.”
From Brian Engblom, Mike Allison and Cammi Granato to Daryl Evans, Jim Fox and Bob Miller, all of Nickson’s former colleagues were on hand at today’s luncheon to witness the longtime radio voice of the Kings received his blazer and ring before officially getting enshrined into Hockey’s Hall.
“It was great to have my sisters there, my good friends from back home in Rochester,” Nickson concluded. “It was great.”
When I spoke with him a couple of months ago about the news of his initial induction, Nickson admitted that he was surprised when he first heard the news, but was realistic in his approach to the being inducted.
“When you start a career — in my case, broadcasting — the motivation for me has always been to, number one, do the best broadcast possible, to entertain the fans and be accurate with everything,” Nickson told me. “And that motivation doesn’t change for me. It hasn’t changed for me since I started doing hockey games almost 40 years ago and, whether or not I receive accolades in the way of the Hall of Fame honor such as this coming in November, it really is not going to change the way that I approach doing a broadcast. And I know it’s different for everybody but everybody’s got their own system, their own set of beliefs as to how they can get the job the best way possible.”
Walking down the red carpet on Monday evening, Mr. Nickson was very gracious in taking the time to speak with me but it was evident that he had an overwhelming day — one that he will likely never forget, and rightfully so.