Named Sportswriter of the Year in the state of Illinois a remarkable 19 times, Bob Verdi honed his skills during the six team era. In addition to writing or contributing to six books about Blackhawks players and teams, Verdi also spent three decades as a full time writer at the Chicago Tribune. After years as a beat writer covering the Blackhawks, Verdi became a columnist at the Tribune, and continued to delight sports fans everywhere. A native of Brooklyn and a graduate of Lake Forest College, the Blackhawks named Verdi official team historian in 2010.
The person after whom the award is named receives less recognition than his broadcast award counterpart, Foster Hewitt.
Elmer Ferguson is a legendary figure himself.
Ferguson (February 25, 1885 – April 26, 1972) was a Canadian sports journalist. Born in Charlottetown, Ferguson moved to Montreal in 1910 and became the sports editor of the old Montreal Herald in 1913. Ferguson was one of the most respected and prominent columnists of his time.
He became sports editor of the paper in 1913 and soon became a well known sports journalist with his column “The Gist and the Jest of It”. He was sports editor for the paper for 39 years and continued to write columns until the Herald folded in 1957. He continued to write columns for the now gone as well Montreal Star until a few months before his death in 1972.
In addition to his work in the print media, he was also a colour commentator on radio broadcasts for the Montreal Maroons (1933–1938) and the Canadiens (1938–1967), where he was partnered with Hall of Fame broadcasters Doug Smith and Danny Gallivan.
Ferguson was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame as a builder in 1968. In 1984, Ferguson was recognized as one of the first Hockey Hall of Fame media honourees. The award that is given out was named the elmer Ferguson Memorial Award in his honour.