The 2018-19 season marks Don Stevens’ remarkable 33rd season as the “Voice of the Rochester Americans.” 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 31 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 ESPN Rochester, in addition to calling select home games live on the MSG Network. He teams up with color analyst and former Buffalo Sabre Ric Seiling to bring AHL games to the City of Rochester and around the country. 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 10 goals scored by an AHL goaltender, most recently in 2010-11 when Binghamton’s Chris Holt became the 10th netminder in league history to a score a goal with his 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, Steven maintained a dual role while also serving as the broadcaster for the Rochester Raging Rhinos (United Soccer Leagues First Division). 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 the recipient of the 2018 Gary Smith and George Beahon Sports Media Excellence Award at the Press-Radio Club Dinner.
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.
THE DON STEVENS’ FILE:
TOP FIVE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS
1.) “My first season was 86-87, and there was a memorable moment in my very first game at the War Memorial. Shane Churla (Binghamton) went up on the stage after some of the fans.”
2.) “Since then, there have been lots of memorable moments. One of the best was going to the championship in my first year and winning it at Sherbrooke, and coming home to the thousands of people at the airport at 4:00 in the morning.”
3.) “That same season at Binghamton, beating the Rangers on the last night of the season in a shootout, to win the regular season championship.”
4.) “Going to the finals seven times in my first 14 years in Rochester is just an incredible statistic.”
5.) “Calling the first ever goal scored by a goalie by ‘shooting’ it directly into the net (Darcy Wakaluk in Utica), about a week before Ron Hextall did it (for the Philadelphia Flyers). In fact, I called the first four goalie goals in league history - two for (Wakaluk & Robb Stauber) and two against.”