NEW YORK, New York – Two longtime pillars of the American hockey community, Washington Capitals executive Dick Patrick and Fort Wayne Komets broadcaster Bob Chase/Wallenstein have been named recipients of the 2012 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.
The award, one of the most prestigious in hockey, was presented to the National Hockey League by the New York Rangers in 1966. It honors the memory of Lester Patrick, who spent 50 years in hockey as a player, coach and general manager and was a pioneer in the sport's development. The recipients will be honored during the annual U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction celebration in Dallas on Oct. 15.
A grandson of Lester Patrick and son of former Rangers player and coach Muzz Patrick, Dick Patrick has carried on the unparalleled tradition of franchise building long established by America's first hockey family. Born in Victoria, British Columbia, he grew up in the United States, played college hockey at Dartmouth and earned his law degree from American University.
Since 1982-83, he has served as president of the Washington Capitals. It is no coincidence that the franchise never qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in its eight seasons before Patrick's arrival and has participated in the postseason in 23 of the 29 seasons since – including its 1998 trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
Caps owner Ted Leonsis credits Patrick with bringing him into the world of ice hockey in 1999.
Patrick spearheaded construction of the Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the Caps' state-of-the-art training facility that also is home to local youth hockey programs. As vice chairman and chief operating officer of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Patrick oversees all revenue generation for the Leonsis-founded company that owns the Capitals, the Washington Wizards of the NBA, the WNBA's Washington Mystics and Verizon Center. Patrick also supervises upgrades and improvements to Verizon Center geared toward enhancing fan experience.
A legendary and pioneering broadcaster for radio station WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Bob Chase/Wallenstein this season will work his 60th season of Fort Wayne Komets hockey.
The native of Negaunee, Michigan, arrived at WOWO in 1953 and began calling games for what then was a second-year franchise. He has been a fixture in their booth ever since, calling their Central Hockey League championship victory last spring.
During his six decades at WOWO, Chase/Wallenstein did it all – including serve as sports director and marketing and promotions director. In addition to doing play-by-play of Komets games, he hosted an on-air show during which he interviewed celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley and he called the famed 1954 Milan High School run to the Indiana state championship that was immortalized in the movie "Hoosiers."
Renowned hockey play-by-play man Mike Emrick credits having met Chase/Wallenstein while in college with inspiring his decision to make broadcasting his career.
Tickets to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Dinner & Ceremony are available by visiting USHockeyHallofFame.com or calling Kevin Couture at 719.538.1184.
Tag(s): Lester Patrick Award