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 Rochester Americans

Stevens Named Winner of 2024 Gary Smith & George Beahon Sports Media Excellence Award

May 24, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Rochester Americans News Release

(Rochester, NY) - Rochester Americans Hall of Fame broadcaster Don Stevens has been named the winner of the 2024 Gary Smith & George Beahon Sports Media Excellence Award . Stevens will be honored among several other local sports figures at the upcoming annual Rochester Press-Radio Club Celebration of Champions presented by ESL Federal Credit Union on Tuesday, June 11 at Innovative Field.

"I am both honored and humbled to receive this award, especially one that is named after two icons in Rochester's media history," said Stevens. "Thank you so much to the Rochester Press Radio Club selection committee. To receive an award for what I do, at this late stage of my career, is incredible. Thanks to the Pegula sports organization for providing such an exciting product that makes all this possible, and, of course, thanks to all the fans for putting up with me this long. I am so blessed!"

"Don has been a staple of Amerks hockey for nearly four decades and this is a tremendous testament for everything he has done for not only the organization, but the entire Rochester sports community," said Amerks Interim Vice President of Business Operations, Chad Buck . "Don's distinct and iconic call has been synonymous with some of the most unforgettable moments in team history and his impact on the organization is truly immeasurable. This is yet another incredibly deserving honor and we look forward to many more years and many more memories with Don on the call."

Stevens, who's now a three-time winner of the award, recently completed his 38 th season with the Amerks and 55 th overall in sports broadcasting in 2023-24. In all, Stevens has called 3,250 games over his near 40-year career in Rochester and has been witness to some of the most memorable moments in the 68-year history of the franchise. He also remains the longest tenured broadcaster in the American Hockey League after joining Rochester prior to the 1986-87 campaign.

Stevens has seen many changes in the AHL since he first put on the headphones and called his first Amerks game at the old Rochester War Memorial. Known as the "Dean of AHL Broadcasters," Stevens has witnessed the expansion of the league to an all-time high 32 teams and the explosion of media coverage of the AHL.

The Amerks' broadcaster has served the team in numerous capacities during his tenure, including public relations director, TV host, radio talk show host, and TV and radio play-by-play broadcaster. In addition, Stevens founded the AHL Broadcasters/Writers Association and served as its president.

The "Voice of the Amerks" calls games on the new radio home of the Amerks, 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester, in addition to calling select home games live on CW Rochester and the MSG Network. Stevens also had the distinction of covering the Amerks on multiple occasions over the NHL Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, introducing Amerks hockey on both a national and international level.

In 2009-10, Stevens called Rochester's historic 2,000 th franchise win as the Amerks joined an elite club, becoming just the second team in the American Hockey League and eighth overall in North American hockey history to achieve the feat. He was also behind the microphone for five of the 20 goals scored by an AHL goaltender, most recently in 2010-11 when Binghamton's Chris Holt fired in an empty-netter against Rochester.

Stevens' most memorable season with the organization came during the 2010-11 campaign, his 25 th with the red, white and blue. Stevens' years of dedicated service to the club was acknowledged with his enshrinement in the team's prestigious Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2011. As the 50 th member of the Hall, and just the second broadcaster inducted, Stevens joined an elite group of individuals whose contributions ere instrumental in shaping the storied franchise.

From 1996-2009, Stevens maintained a dual role while also serving as the broadcaster for the Rochester Rhinos (United Soccer League). With the Rhinos, Stevens was part of back-to-back regular season championships (1998-99), three A-League championships in four years (1998, 1999 and 2001), the 1999 U.S. Open Cup and 14 consecutive playoff runs during his tenure. In 1998, he even covered an Amerks hockey game and the Rhinos' championship game on the same day. Stevens was inducted into the Rhinos Hall of Fame on Sept. 24, 2016 during halftime of the club's final regular-season home matchup, becoming the first broadcaster in Rhinos team history to earn the honors.

Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards for his work on radio and television. In 1993-94, he won the AHL's James H. Ellery Award, given to the person that has made outstanding contributions to the progress of the AHL for his work on the Amerks Radio Network. Stevens has also won a national ACE Award for Cable Excellence as the host of the weekly television show, "Amerks Report," and received the Rochester Press-Radio Club's Louis MacMillan Award for sportscasting excellence.

In 2003, he was inducted into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame in the media category. The Walk of Fame is located inside Frontier Field and features the names of fans, players, contributors and media throughout Rochester's sports history. Following the 2012-13 season, Stevens' 27 th as the Amerks play-by-play man, he was again awarded with the AHL's prestigious James H. Ellery Memorial Award for excellence in radio coverage for the second time in his career.

In June of 2018, Stevens was named the recipient of the Gary Smith and George Beahon Sports Media Excellence Award. He was honored as the 2020 Sportsperson of the Year by the Rochester St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee, and most recently, the Amerks dedicated the press box at The Blue Cross Arena in his honor in February 2023 in recognition of nearly 40 years of service to the organization.

With the Amerks, Stevens has broadcast seven Calder Cup Finals and the Spengler Cup in Switzerland, winning a pair of Calder Cup championships in the process. Stevens has taken the AHL to its highest level during the course of his career and has shown his true professionalism by working with younger broadcasters throughout the league. Each season he has made it a point to "promote the Rochester Americans and the American Hockey League," from his seat in the radio booth to the podium at numerous charity events.

During his career, broadcasting has taken the Wainwright, Alberta, native all over the United States, Canada and Europe. He has worked in such markets as Seattle, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Rochester.

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