Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Honoring 'The Maven'

Congratulations to Stan Fischler, a Sunday Freeman sports columnist for over 20 years, who Tuesday was named as one of four recipients of the prestigious Lester Patrick Award, presented annually by the National Hockey League in recognition of outstanding service to hockey in the United States.

"The Maven" is the most profilic hockey writer in the history of the sport. Stan and his wife, Shirley, also a Freeman columnist, have been writing about the game in newspapers, magazines and books for decades. And he's been a familiar face on cablecasts of Islanders, Devils and Rangers games.

The Fischlers have a home in Boiceville, which is how we connected years ago. I was sports editor at the time and I favorably alluded to Stan in a notes column, not knowing he was a part-time Ulster County resident and Freeman reader. He called to thank me for the ink and we've been friends ever since.

The Patrick Award is a big deal. But the real prize would be Stan's election to the writers' wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Many of the game's heavyweights have been campaigning for him. I was honored to be asked to participate in the campaign. He's not part of the class that will be inducted in Toronto in a couple of months. But it's hard to believe he'll be permanently shut out. That would be a real injustice to one of the NHL's true ambassadors.
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