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Harry Neale honored with Foster Hewitt Memorial Award

Last year, Buffalo Sabres play by play man Rick Jeanneret was given the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s highest honor for broadcasters.

This year, former Sabres color commentator and broadcaster Harry Neale joined his partner by being the second consecutive Buffalo broadcaster to receive the same award, and the third overall along with Ted Darling.

Neale was honored by the Hall after over 20 years behind the microphone, a career he was much more successful at than his short time as an NHL head coach. The bulk of his career was forged on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, where he served as the longtime color commentator for the Saturday evening staple alongside play by play man Bob Cole. He’s spent the past seven seasons in the booth for the Sabres, serving as both color commentator and between periods analyst.

While Neale wasn’t quite as sharp for the past few seasons as longtime hockey fans have come to expect, he was always good for a great behind the scenes story, and nobody could explain a play using a farm animal analogy quite like he could.

Neale was very appreciative in his speech, and had a few nice things to say about his time in Buffalo and working wtih Rick Jeanneret.

“It was terrific. I knew Rick long before I got to work with him, and I thought it would be great to do a couple of games with Rick just to be part of it. When I got a chance to do that it was just great, even not knowing how long it was going to last.”

“As I said during my speech, the three play-by-play guys that I did maybe 85 or 90 percent of my games with, are the three major reasons why I won this award. And with Rick being the award winner last year, that made it even more special.”

Congratulations to Neale, and thanks for making some bad Sabres games more enjoyable over the past few years.