The Rochester Americans recently unveiled the “Don Stevens Press Box” during the first intermission of the Amerks game against the Springfield Thunderbirds at The Blue Cross Arena, in recognition of the Hall of Fame broadcaster’s nearly 40 years of dedicated service to the organization.
“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 community,” said Amerks Vice President of Business Operations Rob Minter. “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 one that cannot be measured. This is a very deserving honor and we look forward to many more years and many more memories with Don on the call.”
Currently in his remarkable 37th season as the legendary “Voice of the Amerks,” Stevens has called more than 3,000 games and has been witness to some of the most memorable moments in the 67-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. 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 2,000th 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 25th 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 50th member of the Hall, and just the second broadcaster inducted, Stevens joined an elite group of individuals whose tireless contributions and commitment to the franchise matches those of the original 1956 Rochester Americans.
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’ 27th 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.
Most recently, in June of 2018, Stevens was named the recipient of the 2018 Gary Smith and George Beahon Sports Media Excellence Award at the 72nd annual Press-Radio Club Dinner held in downtown Rochester. He was also honored as the 2020 Sportsperson of the Year by the Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee.
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.