Larry Brooks has been called a lot of things by a lot of people over the decades, but soon he’ll be able to call himself a Hall of Famer.
The longtime hockey scribe at The Post was announced on Friday as this year’s recipient of the Elmer Ferguson Award, bestowed by the Hockey Hall of Fame “in recognition of distinguished members of the newspaper profession whose words have brought honor to journalism and to hockey.”
The award has been voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association since its inaugural year in 1984, and Brooks will join the rest of the 2018 class at the induction ceremony in Toronto in November.
“With the possible exception of broken teeth, nothing is more hockey than Larry Brooks,” Post editor-in-chief Steve Lynch said. “His coverage of the Rangers and the NHL is unparalleled, entertaining and informing Post readers for 32 years. His colleagues at The Post congratulate him on an honor well deserved.”
Brooks’ plaque will now sit beside such literary luminaries as Red Fisher, Al Laney and Michael Farber, as well as one other Post writer, Hugh Delano, inducted in 1991.
“I recognize how fortunate I am to have been able to turn a childhood passion into a lifelong career,” the 68-year-old Brooks said. “I think about that every night when I leave the Garden using the same staircase I did 50 years ago when I had season tickets in Section 419. I’ve tried to inform and entertain, to advocate and antagonize. I’m grateful to the editors at The Post who have allowed and encouraged me to be myself. And I am most indebted to the fans and readers whose passion reflects my own. It’s been a great ride. And I’m not ready to get off.”
Brooks’ passion for hockey began as a child growing up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, going on to Bronx Science high school and then CCNY. He found his way to The Post in 1976, starting in rewrite and then getting the Islanders beat. He also covered baseball during that time, including the famous 1977 Yankees.
In 1978, Brooks began covering the Rangers, and the next season, he segued into a role as a hockey columnist while still covering baseball.
Brooks left the paper in 1982 to become vice president of communications for the Devils, a gig that also included being the color commentator on radio. He famously — or infamously? — went behind a lectern in May 1988 to defend then-coach (and current Rangers’ assistant GM) Jim Schoenfeld after the “have another donut” incident with referee Don Koharski, which resulted in a one-game suspension for Schoenfeld and the officials actually protesting a game in the conference final.
By 1993, Brooks returned to The Post and covered the Devils, adding the now famous Sunday column known as Slap Shots in 1995. He reclaimed the Rangers beat in 1996, switching with since-retired Mark Everson, and has stayed on the Blueshirts ever since. He returned to covering baseball during the NHL’s canceled season of 2004-05, and has kept that a prominent part of his work during the NHL offseason.
The columns and commentary have dictated the news cycle for decades, while some personal clashes — both public and private — have made it a career full of interest.
Former Rangers coach John Tortorella declined comment for this story, but on this day — when Brooks’ career has reached a pinnacle — no more comment was needed.
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