PHWA announces 2018-19 Midseason Award winners

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Professional Hockey Writers Association announced today the winners of 10 Midseason Awards, as the hockey world descends on the Bay Area to mark the halfway point of the 2018-19 NHL season.

The Midseason Awards returned for a second straight season, making a once annual staple a regular feature on the hockey calendar again. Historically, the PHWA voted on “Half Season” Awards through 1968, but the practice fell off the radar after the advent of the modern-day All-Star Game until it was revived in 2018.

Half of the PHWA’s 2018 Midseason Award winners mirrored the end-of-season results which followed in June.

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Isabelle Khurshudyan wins 2018 Red Fisher Award

The Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) is proud to announce Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post has won the 2018 Red Fisher Award, which recognizes to the top overall beat reporter from the 2017-18 season, as voted by her peers.

Khurshudyan was recognized out of a group of nominees which included Mark Lazerus of The Athletic Chicago, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic Columbus, Arthur Staple of The Athletic New York and Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun.

“First of all, I was really honored to even be nominated with those guys who have way more experience than I do and are really, really great writers and reporters,” said Khurshudyan. “But the coolest thing for me is that it’s something my colleagues, other hockey beat writers, voted on. It’s a most special thing that you’re getting recognition from people that you work alongside a lot of times and really respect. That means a lot again.”

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Matt Klinkenberg wins the PHWA’s Jim Kelley Memorial Scholarship

Matt Klinkenberg, 2018 recipient of the Jim Kelley Memorial Scholarship with his parents, Liz and Marty. (Photo courtesy the Klinkenberg family).

The Professional Hockey Writers Association is proud to announce Matt Klinkenberg as 2018 winner of the Jim Kelley Memorial Scholarship.

Klinkenberg is the son of PHWA member Marty Klinkenberg a staff writer of the Globe and Mail based in Edmonton.

Matt Klinkenberg won the scholarship after submitting an essay detailing his father’s devotion to writing about hockey.

It’s a passion they both share.

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NHL awards ballots from PHWA members

LAS VEGAS — The Professional Hockey Writers Association has been proud to select the winners of six major NHL Awards as well as the end-of-season All-Star and All-Rookie teams since 1967.

For the last 49 seasons, those Awards have been determined by secret ballot.

For the first time, PHWA members voted overwhelmingly in March to join their brethren covering other major professional sports to reveal the ballot of each individual voter in the interest of full transparency.

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PHWA Conn Smythe Trophy ballots: Ovechkin’s win

LAS VEGAS — Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin was selected as the 2018 Conn Smythe Trophy winner as Stanley Cup playoffs MVP by a panel of Professional Hockey Writers Association members.

Ovechkin received 13 of a possible 18 first place votes to edge linemate Evgeny Kuznetsov, the playoff’s points leader, who garnered the other five available votes. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby finished third in Conn Smythe voting.

Ovechkin became just the fourth non-North American born player to win in the award’s 53-year history.

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Flyers, Stars earn 2018 Dillman Award

The Professional Hockey Writers Association is pleased to announce that the Philadelphia Flyers and the Dallas Stars are the 2018 winners of the Dick Dillman Award, presented annually by the PHWA to honor the work of outstanding NHL public relations staffs in each conference.

Both the Flyers and the Stars previously won the Dillman award three season ago. In fact, this is the third time in six years that the Flyers have earned the honors, in large part because of the continued diligent work of Zack Hill, the team’s senior director of communications, and his chief lieutenants Joe Siville (director of public relations) and Brian Smith (manager of Broadcasting and Media Services.

The runner-up in the Eastern Conference was the Carolina Hurricanes, led by Mike Sundheim, the team’s long vice president of communications and team services.

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Boyle, Luongo, Staal named Masterton finalists

New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle, Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo and Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal have been named finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) vote on the trophy which is awarded “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey,”

Each local chapter of the PHWA nominates a player at the end of the regular season. The top three vote-getters are selected as finalists for the trophy.

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Ken Hitchcock retires

Ken Hitchcock was a coach who shared his vast knowledge of the game of hockey, far beyond the routine of normal head coach media availabilities. In doing so, he taught many of us at the Professional Hockey Writers Association nuances, tenets and characteristics of the game that we may never have had access to.

We learned more, so our readers learned more.

When you clicked on your recorder to ask ‘Hitch’ about a player, a situation, or often something going on a Conference away, he rewarded you with wisdom and humour, and a conversation that made your article better — every single time. And although it was always us asking the questions and him answering, Hitchcock never made you feel that he knew more about hockey than you, even though that was clearly the case.

We at the PHWA extend our gratitude and well wishes as Ken Hitchcock announces his retirement from coaching. The game will go on without you Hitch, but the press conferences won’t be as much fun.

– PHWA President Mark Spector

PHWA, Boston Bruins Foundation make donation to Travis Roy Foundation in memory of Steve Harris

The Boston Chapter of the PHWA (Professional Hockey Writers Association), with a major assist from the philanthropic generosity of the Boston Bruins Foundation, is proud to announce that the $25,000 raised from this season’s Bruins media meals at TD Garden will be donated to the Travis Roy Foundation in the memory of recently passed Boston Herald scribe and longtime PHWA member Steve Harris.

The Travis Roy Foundation is one that Harris cared passionately about and was the perfect choice to commemorate a longstanding, dedicated member of the hockey world. The check presentation took place ahead of tonight’s Bruins/Senators game at TD Garden as part of the team’s regular season awards presentation.

PHWA mourns those lost in Humboldt

As writers and chroniclers of the game, so many of us took those seats near the front of our local junior or college team’s bus – seated just behind the coaches, but not back with the players. We were blessed to be part of the experience of traveling hockey’s highways, as we all sought to find a lasting place in the game.

The bus was hockey’s safe place. A place where everyone — coach, writer, player, trainer, manager — paid the same dues. We studied there, watched movies there, napped there, and got to know who each other were beyond the role that put us in that seat.

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