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The Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play announcer was on a short list of high profile names to be inducted at the South Okanagan Events Centre, receiving the honour with NHL players Scott Niedermayer and Rob Brind’Amour, as well as Scott Carter and Dr. Bob Hindmarch.
Hughson, who entered the broadcasting industry years ago in Fort St. John, said it was special to share the event with two of B.C.’s premier hockey players, as throughout his NHL broadcasting career he had the opportunity to watch, and call, the growth and development of two very different, but very skilled NHL players who are both Stanley Cup champions.
He also said it spoke tremendously about the grass root hockey organizations within B.C., saying that despite a lack of British Columbians in the NHL in the early 60’s and 70’s, times have changed, and there is currently a long list of British Columbians playing the highest level of hockey, and there will be tremendously long list of B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees in the future.
Hughson was given the privilege of making a speech during his induction ceremony, where he focused on his childhood and his years of living within the Peace Region and how that developed into a successful career.
“For me it was mostly about growing up. I wanted people to understand while I spent the last 30 years in the industry and broadcasting games at the NHL level and all around North America, that was simply opportunity, and it was an opportunity that arose because of a passion I had for the game. That passion was created in Fort St. John, watching the Flyers, going to the games or listening to them on the radio.”
Hughson, who worked for CKNL radio part-time during his high school years, says his entry into the professional broadcasting world was another moment of opportunity.
After returning to Fort St. John following university, he worked full time at the Fort St. John station, where its play-by-play announcer had moved on to a station in Edmonton.
“I was the guy who was left at the radio station who knew a puck from a football, so I got to be the sports guy. The first broadcast that I ever did was the Fort St. John Flyers versus the Dawson Creek Canucks from the Dawson Creek Arena. I just thought, ‘wow, this could be fun’, and it grew from there. It was an opportunity and I seized it.”
Fast forward to 2012, and that part-time radio announcer has cemented his name as one of the most acclaimed broadcasters Canada has produced; an honour he felt was special as he got to share it with a variety of people he admires.
“One thing about being in the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame was that the room was full of people that I know from the hockey industry, and I respect and enjoy. That to me is as much of a highlight as any single individual event.”
The event was also significant as Hughson got to share it with his family.
“I was very honoured and very humbled, but what struck me was how much it meant to the people around me, I didn’t realize it was going to be such a big deal until all my family found out about it. They were all very proud and supportive and we turned it into a real family event. So that made it even more special.”
Passion is always important when considering a career, and Hughson says that passion, more than anything, is something he took with him when he ventured out of the Energetic City to further his broadcasting career.
“You know you grow up in a small town where everyone looked after everyone else, where there was a real sense of community, and again for me in my profession, it was my real love of hockey and a real passion for the game. That’s what I left Fort St. John with and it put me in good stead as I moved along.”
When asked what advice he could offer to an up and coming broadcaster, Hughson responded with a few simple words, “know the game and love the game.”
Loving what you do seems to be a motto for Hughson, something the Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer says is fundamental to his success.
“I’ve had a chance to broadcast the last game of the Stanley Cup finals, World Junior Championships, gold medal games in sports, and they’re all terrific, but I think the highlight of the whole thing is to be able to have a job and a profession in a sport that you absolutely have a passion and love for. I’ve been blessed in that I have been able to spend my life working in the toy department.”
Hughson can be seen and heard on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts, which take place every Saturday evening throughout the NHL season.
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