Tremendous news today — original radio play-by-play voice for pro hockey in Washington, Ron Weber, will receive the 2010 Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in November as part of the NHL’s Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
When the Washington Capitals joined the NHL as an expansion team in 1974, Weber, then the Baltimore Clippers’ play-by-play announcer, was hired to be the voice of the NHL’s newest franchise. Over the next 23 years Weber never missed a regular season or playoff broadcast, talking Capitals fans through 1,936 consecutive games. On a most personal level, Weber’s was the voice that brought alive hockey in Washington for this Washingtonian, and he graciously accepted my request to be the very first pro hockey figure I interviewed for OFB.
“Ron has been a key contributor to the growth of NHL hockey interest in the D.C. area over his two-plus decades as the original voice of the Capitals,” said Chuck Kaiton, President, NHL Broadcasters’ Association. “He is very worthy of this honour.”
This year’s Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend will take place November 5-8, culminating with the Induction Ceremony on Monday, November 8. The Foster Hewitt Memorial Award is named in honour of the late “Voice of Hockey” in Canada. It was first presented in 1984 by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association in recognition of members of the radio and television industry who have made outstanding contributions to their profession and to the game of hockey.
Postscript: Dan Steinberg has offers a compelling look at the dedication of Weber’s broadcast career with the Capitals in Wednesday’s WaPost. The online file includes a terrific photo of Weber seated next to a youthful Joe Beninati from 1997.