Wrapping up SIHR's fall meeting in Quebec City on Saturday, October 19, NHL statistician Benny Ercolani was announced as the inaugural winner of the Society's Ernie Fitzsimmons Award.
The award, presented for excellence in the field of hockey statistical/research publication, honours Ercolani's 40+ years as the NHL's Head Statistician.
His award citation noted Ercolani's tremendous service to the game and to all who research the game including many SIHR members over the years. Beyond his tireless work and innovation, often done while navigating challenging/shifting waters within the League head office.
"Mr. Ercolani is known throughout our community as a genuinely warm and kind person who cares deeply about the game and its statistical backbone," noted SIHR President Fred Addis.
"His work has been largely invisible to the public and our membership wanted to shine some light on his outstanding contribution to our understanding of the game we love."
The annual award was established earlier this year in honour of founding SIHR member Ernie Fitzsimmons of Fredricton, New Brunswick.
Fitzsimmons originally proposed and championed the unparalleled SIHR database. At its inception he contributed his accumulation of statistics and images as the seed data, and has continued to add statistics and photographs, now numbering in excess of 300,000 competitive hockey players active since the inception of the game.
While his contribution is acknowledged on each SIHR database page footer, the award will suitably honour this hockey history pioneer to a much broader audience.
|2019||Benny Ercolani||New York, New York|
SIHR created this award in 2016 to honour past-president Paul Kitchen, in recognition of his efforts to promote and preserve hockey history within and outside of the SIHR.
The award recognizes the best research project produced during the past calendar year. The criteria for a qualifying project has been expanded to include any digital form of expression (website, blog, Facebook page, etc.) in addition to the previous criteria of book or documentary formats. One need not be a member of SIHR to be nominated for this award, but only members in good standing may nominate candidates.
The same person may not be nominated for both the Brian McFarlane and Paul Kitchen awards on the same year. If the situation happens, the nominators will be encouraged to agree among themselves as to which award the person should be nominated for. If necessary, the Executive Committee will make the decision.
|2019||Stephen Hardy and Andrew C. Holman||Durham, New Hampshire and Bridgewater, Massachusetts|
|2018||Mike Commito||Sudbury, Ontario|
|2017||Howard Shubert||Toronto, Ontario|
|2016||Eric Zweig||Owen Sound, Ontario|
In 1995 the society created the annual Brian McFarlane Award, named for its first honorary president in appreciation of his support for SIHR and his ongoing contribution to the preservation of hockey history.
Each year, the Brian McFarlane Award recognizes a SIHR member in good standing for continued outstanding research and writing in any media, including the Hockey Research Journal and/or presentations at SIHR meetings.
The 2019 Brian McFarlane Award recipient is Jason Farris who is being recognized for his broad body of hockey research over the past two decades which has culminated in the opening of the Texas Hockey History Center in Dallas Texas in 2018 and in the publication of many books including Behind the Moves: NHL General Managers Tell how Winners are Built; Hockey Play-by Play: Around the NHL with Jim Robson (and its sequel, Canuck Captains with Jim Robson); and Texas on Ice: Early Strides to Pro Hockey (and its sequel, Pro Strides to the Stars).
A person having received the Brian McFarlane Award will not be eligible to receive it again. Only members in good standing may nominate candidates. The same person may not be nominated for both the Brian McFarlane and Paul Kitchen awards in the same year. If the situation happens, the nominators will be encouraged to agree among themselves as to which award the person should be nominated for. If necessary, the Executive Committee will make the decision.
|2019||Jason Farris||Dallas, Texas|
|2018||Stephen Smith||Toronto, Ontario|
|2017||Todd Denault||Cobourg, Ontario|
|2016||Iain Fyffe||Fredericton, New Brunswick|
|2015||Jean-Patrice Martel, Patrick Houda and Carl Giden||Chambly, Québec and Stockholm, Sweden|
|2014||Craig Bowlsby||Vancouver, British Columbia|
|2013||Marc Durand||Quebec City, Québec|
|2012||Kevin Shea||Ajax, Ontario|
|2011||Jim Mancuso||Utica, New York|
|2010||Patrick Houda and Carl Giden||Stockholm, Sweden|
|2009||Paul Kitchen||Ottawa, Ontario|
|2008||Paul Patskou||Toronto, Ontario|
|2007||Martin Harris||London, England|
|2006||Bill Fitsell||Kingston, Ontario|
|2005||Eric Zweig||Owen Sound, Ontario|
|2004||Joseph Nieforth||Toronto, Ontario|
|2003||John Paton||Toronto, Ontario|
|2002||Bill Martin||Chicago, Illinois|
|2001||Don Reddick||Stockbridge, Vermont|
|2000||Paul Kitchen||Ottawa, Ontario|
|1999||Len Kotylo||Richmond Hill, Ontario|
|1998||Roger Godin||St. Paul, Minnestota|
|1997||Ernie Fitzsimmons||Fredericton, New Bruncwick|
|1996||Michel Vigneault||Montreal, Quebec|
|1995||Glen Goodhand||Beaverton, Ontario|
The President's Award was created in 2011 and is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Society. The winner is selected by the sitting president. At the 2016 annual general meeting, it was renamed to honour founding president Bill Fitsell.
2019 Bill Fitsell President's Award Recipient James Milks
|2019||James Milks||Gatineau, Quebec|
|2018||Ernie Fitzsimmons||Fredericton, New Brunswick|
|2017||Kevin Shea||Ajax, Ontario|
|2016||Glen Goodhand||Roblin, Ontario|
|2015||Ron Leger||Moncton, New Brunswick|
|2014||Denis Gibbons||Burlington, Ontario|
|2013||R.J. Pratt||Calgary, Alberta|
|2013||Wilbrod Despres||Gaspé, Québec|
|2012||Mark Kihn||Calgary, Alberta|
|2011||Lloyd Davis||Toronto, Ontario|
|2011||Paul Bruno||Richmond Hill, Ontario|
2016 Kitchen Award winner Eric Zweig
2016 McFarlane Award winner Iain Fyffe
Photo: Caleb Fyffe
2015 McFarlane Award winners Carl Giden, Pat Houda and Jean-Patrice Martel
Photo: Christinne Muschi for National Post
2014 McFarlane Award recipient Craig Bowlsby - Photo: Nancy Baye
2013 McFarlane Award Recipient Marc Durand - Photo: Patrice Larochelle / Le Soleil
2017 Paul Kitchen Award Recipient Howard Shubert
2017 McFarlane Award recipient Todd Denault (Photo: Karen Longwell / Metroland)
2018 Bill Fitsell President's Award Recipient Ernie Fitzsimmons (left) with former Canadian Prime Minsiter Stephen Harper in 2007
2018 Paul Kitchen Award Recipient Mike Commito
2018 Brian McFarlane Award Recipient Stephen Smith
2019 Paul Kitchen Award Recipients Stephen Hardy (left) and Andrew Holman
2019 Bill Fitsell President's Award Recipient James Milks