PHWA announces 2019-20 Midseason Award winners

ST. LOUIS — Jan. 22, 2020 — The Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) announced today the winners of 10 Midseason Awards, as the hockey world descends on the Gateway City to mark the halfway point of the 2019-20 NHL campaign.

The PHWA’s Midseason Awards have proven to be an accurate predictor of the NHL Awards show in June: Six of the eight traditional Midseason Awards winners went on to claim the trophy last year in Vegas.

“We’re proud of the work our PHWA members put in throughout the entire season, crunching numbers and speaking to sources to gather the best ballot possible,” PHWA president Frank Seravalli said. “The Midseason Awards are the latest example of that, beginning an evaluation process in January that will conclude in early April when the real ballots are submitted.”

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An appreciation of Kevin Allen

Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award recipient and former Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) president Kevin Allen announced on Thursday he is leaving USA Today after 34 years with that outlet.

During his time with USA Today, Allen covered 33 Stanley Cup Finals, 10 Olympic Games and many of the sport’s seminal moments such as Mario Lemieux’s return from retirement, Wayne Gretzky’s retirement, the debuts of Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid and Alex Ovechkin as well as the “Easter Epic” between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals.

“For more than three decades, Kevin Allen has been the voice and conscience of hockey in America,” said PHWA president Frank Seravalli. “He is a titan in hockey media, as connected and well-respected as any reporter in the history of the game. But what stands out about Kevin, in addition to his unparalleled run of service to the PHWA as president, is his resolve to continue covering the NHL at the same high level over the last number of years as his other duties multiplied at USA TODAY. He was just thrilled to be at the rink when he could.

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The PHWA mourns Russ Conway

The Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) is mourning one of its most accomplished members in Russ Conway who passed away at the age of 70.

A long-time sports editor and writer with The Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, Mass, Conway began covering the Boston Bruins in 1967. His landmark investigative coverage of the National Hockey League Players Association’s corruption under executive director Alan Eagleson garnered a Pulitzer Prize nomination in beat reporting for Conway in 1992.

“Russ Conway personified the power of journalism. He kept absolute power in check, leading to the single biggest hockey story of his generation,” said PHWA president Frank Seravalli. “His dogged reporting, development and depth of sources and comfort in asking uncomfortable questions brought down once seemingly impenetrable institution. Mr. Conway punched well above his weight class working at a mid-sized American suburban newspaper, reminding us all that it’s not the outlet, but the pursuit of the truth that matters above all.

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Frank Seravalli elected as new PHWA president

VANCOUVER — The Professional Hockey Writers Association elected a new executive board at the organization’s annual NHL Draft meeting on Saturday in Vancouver.

Frank Seravalli of TSN was elected as president, succeeding Mark Spector, who served in the role since 2017.

“I would like to thank Mark Spector for his tireless work and dedication to the PHWA,” Seravalli said. “This is a critical juncture for our organization, as we seek to preserve access and our role as independent gatekeeper for the NHL Awards as voters. We will continue to evolve with the changing media landscape as we’ve done since 1967, but that wouldn’t be possible without Mark’s part in helping make the PHWA as organized and engaged as it’s ever been.”

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2019 NHL awards ballots from PHWA members

LAS VEGAS — Since 1967, the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) has voted on six major NHL awards as well as end-of-season All-Star and All-Rookie teams.

For the second consecutive year, the PHWA is revealing the ballot of each individual voter in the interest of full transparency.

A total of 173 ballots were received.

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PHWA Conn Smythe Trophy ballots: O’Reilly’s win

BOSTON — St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly was selected as the 2019 Conn Smythe Trophy winner as Stanley Cup playoffs MVP by a panel of Professional Hockey Writers Association members.

O’Reilly received 13 of a possible 18 first place votes to edge teammate Jordan BInnington, who claimed the other five available votes. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask finished third in the voting.

The first player in NHL history to score in Games 4, 5, 6 and 7 of a Stanley Cup Final, O’Reilly recorded nine points during the Final and established a franchise record with 23 points during the postseason.

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Flames, Lightning earn 2019 Dillman Awards

The Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) is pleased to announce that the Calgary Flames and the Tampa Bay Lightning are the 2019 winners of the Dick Dillman Award, presented annually by the PHWA to honor the work of outstanding NHL public relations staffs in each conference.

This is the second time the Flames have received this recognition. They were previously recognized in 2015-16.

“At the PHWA we are all about access, and the ability to spend time with players to tell their stories,” said PHWA President Mark Spector. “The Media Relations staffs in both Calgary and Tampa Bay have, over the long haul, proven to be excellent providers of access and information — and not only when times are good and the stories are wholly positive.

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The PHWA mourns Jason Botchford

It is with a profound sadness that members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) say goodbye to one of our own, Jason Botchford, and send our heartfelt condolences to the Botchford family.

If there is an enduring quality of Jason’s, it is his sheer combativeness, a hallmark of so many upper echelon journalists. Jason was a bulldog who was never afraid to break a few eggs in making his omelette, and in his innovative, signature work — The Provies, followed later by The Athletties — Jason earned his huge and loyal following by refusing to bow to convention while telling Vancouver Canucks readers what was right or wrong about their team.

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Nick Foligno, Robin Lehner and Joe Thornton selected as Masterton Trophy Finalists

Columbus Blue Jackets left winger Nick Foligno, New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner and San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton have been named finalists for the 2019 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

The local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season and the top three vote-getters were designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 19, during the 2019 NHL Awards show.

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