Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
 
 

JD Rewarded for Broadcast Excellence

Blues President accepted the Foster Hewitt Award on Monday in Toronto

Saturday, 11.07.2009 / 3:58 PM / St Louis Blues - Features
By Dan Rosen  - NHL.com
X
Share with your Friends


JD Rewarded for Broadcast Excellence
   
CHANCE OF A LIFETIME
Nobody would have said boo if John Davidson stayed in the broadcast booth for the rest of his career in hockey. After all, there was nobody better than him.

But after calling 156 games over all of his network gigs, including the Olympics in Italy, during the 2005-06 season, Davidson was admittedly "just a little worn out."

That's when St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts, formerly the President and CEO of Madison Square Garden, offered Davidson a new life and a new career away from the broadcast booth.

J.D. had wondered what being in the executive's chair felt like, and becoming president of the Blues was too good to pass up, even if it meant leaving New York.

"Being as it was St. Louis, where I had played before, and I knew the ownership group, it was a fit," Davidson said. "I don't think I would have gone anywhere else. I would have said no if it was any other organization that called me.

"New York gets in your blood," he continued. "Once you get to know it you become part of the fabric and it's in your blood forever. But, you hate to go through your life saying what if? So, I gave it a shot. I'm still a young 56, so you don't know where it will go."

Davidson never figured his broadcast career would land him the Foster Hewitt Award.

"When they called me, I was in my office and it was during our playoff series against Vancouver and I think we were down 2-0, so I wasn't in a good mood, but I almost fell off my chair," Davidson said. "I never thought about it. I just loved the job so much. I went all over the world with it. It was really, really good to me."

  Nov. 14 vs. SJ: Celebrate with JD | Tickets
  Video: Davidson, Molinari Honored
John Davidson struggles to get around on his balky knee these days. The St. Louis Blues' president is scheduled for surgery on Nov. 17 to replace one of his titanium joints. He uses crutches. He can't travel with the team or sit at his desk for too long.

Davidson's in terrible pain, but oh baby! J.D. couldn't wait to get to Toronto this weekend. On Monday, he received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

"It's a bit of a pain in the butt, but I'm going to go and it'll be nice," Davidson, who arrived in Toronto Saturday afternoon, told NHL.com. "I hope it takes the pain away."

Davidson spent 23 years in the broadcast booth, including 20 as the beloved color commentator on New York Rangers broadcasts on the MSG Network, before leaving to take over the Blues in 2006.

He worked five Winter Olympics, plus numerous Stanley Cup Finals and All-Star Games for CBC, Fox, NBC, ABC, ESPN and Versus.

His catch phrase, "Oh baby," became famous in hockey circles and throughout New York City. He made it his responsibility to be the guy who brought to life not only the on-ice details of the game, but the off-ice details of the players' lives.

"I thought doing it that the viewers needed to know more about the goals and assists," Davidson said. "They needed to know about people. They needed to know about Mike Richter. They needed to know what he's about, where he's from and what his family is like. These people have a vested interest in watching the team play and they need to know who these people are."

Davidson, a former goalie for the Blues and Rangers, was initially hired by MSG after retiring due to injuries following the 1982-83 season. His first stint on the air actually took place when he was still a player.

"In Minnesota, with (Foster Hewitt Award winner) Jiggs McDonald, they were doing games and they needed somebody," Davidson said. "I did a game during a weekend when I was injured. Jiggs was in the booth and I had the time of my life, but I was a wreck."

He was 29-years-old when he took a full-time gig with MSG to be the third man on a broadcast team with Jim Gordon and Phil Esposito in 1983.

"Just get through it," Davidson said of his motto in those days. "When I first started you had to learn about the business and how it works and it was way more complicated than I thought. I had retired at 29 because of injuries and this was a chance for me to stay in the game. The only thing I did was I said to myself, 'I'm not going to get outworked.' "

Davidson stayed with MSG for one year before he was hired by CBC and moved to Calgary to do some Flames games, Edmonton games and Hockey Night in Canada telecasts.

He met producer John Shannon, who he said was the "main guy who tutored and taught and pushed and prodded me."

"John also at that time brought on Ron MacLean, who had been doing weather in Red Deer," Davidson recalled. "Ron and I started at the same time and it grew into Hockey Night (in Canada) in short order. That's how I got my feet wet. It was terrific, but it involved a lot of travel."

Davidson grew weary of being on the road and away from his young family.

"The only home games I did were some of the Calgary games," he said.

In one of those perfect timing scenarios, Esposito decided to leave the MSG broadcast booth to take over as the Rangers' general manager prior to the 1986-87 season. Davidson was brought back to New York and he remained for the next 20 years.

"I knew if I did Ranger games I would be home in my own bed much more," Davidson said. "I had a young family and it was sensible. I moved back to New York and just stayed there. It was awesome."

Davidson grew into his role and became a fan favorite everywhere he went. As he promised himself when he first decided to go into broadcasting, he never got outworked.

"I remember one time with the Devils doing a Stanley Cup Final game, Jacques Lemaire was the coach and New Jersey is historically a very closed group, but I called to be able to talk to Jacques because the fans need to know what he thinks," Davidson said. "I met him down at the Meadowlands in the mid-to-late afternoon and we went into a janitor's closet for 20 minutes smelling bleach and Clorox and we had a great conversation. Jacques is a very sharp hockey mind and it's enlightening to talk to him. You get those ideas and his thoughts and you move those on to the fans when you do the game."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Steen 68 33 29 17 62
T. Oshie 79 21 39 19 60
D. Backes 74 27 30 14 57
J. Schwartz 80 25 31 28 56
A. Pietrangelo 81 8 43 20 51
K. Shattenkirk 81 10 35 1 45
V. Tarasenko 64 21 22 20 43
D. Roy 75 9 28 -1 37
J. Bouwmeester 82 4 33 26 37
V. Sobotka 61 9 24 14 33
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 18 6 2 .922 1.96
R. Miller 25 30 4 .918 2.64

 
TICKETS
Single Game Tickets
Full Season Tickets
Half Season Plans
12-Game Plans
6-Game Packs
Group Tickets
Luxury Suites
My Account
NHL Ticket Exchange

TEAM
Team Roster
Prospects
Coaches
Front Office
Blues History
All-Time Player Roster
Chicago Wolves
Alaska Aces

SCHEDULE
Preseason
Regular Season
Schedule Downloads
Printable Schedule (PDF)

STATS
Player Stats
League Standings

NEWS
News
Features
Blues Overtime Blog

VIDEO
Game Highlights
GameDay
News & Interviews
All-Access
NHL Network

SOCIAL
Find a Player
Facebook
Twitter
Mobile App
E-mail Subscriptions

FANS
Hot Deals for Cool Fans
Photo Galleries
License Plates

COMMUNITY
Blues in the Community
Blues 14 Fund
50/50 Raffle Numbers

SHOP
Online Store
Blues Auctions
True Blues Authentics

stlouisblues.com is the official Web site of the St Louis Blues. St Louis Blues, stlouisblues.com and stlblues.com are trademarks of the St Louis Blues Hockey Club. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2014 St. Louis Blues Hockey Club and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

PRIVACY POLICY | ADCHOICES | TERMS OF USE | EMPLOYMENT & INTERNSHIPS | GUEST EXPERIENCE SURVEY | CONTACT US