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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

DANNY GALLIVAN

Inducted in 1989

Member Details

Date of Birth: April 11, 1917
Place of Birth: Sydney, Nova Scotia
Date of Passing: February 24, 1993
Sport: Sport Broadcaster
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1952-84

Host of Hockey Night in Canada

1974

ACTRA Sportscaster of the Year Award

1984

Hockey Hall of Fame Media Honouree

Honoured Member DANNY GALLIVAN
Inspire

Story

Danny Gallivan, a play-by-play giant on Hockey Night in Canada and the Anglophone voice of the Montreal Canadiens for 32 years, was known for his dramatic descriptions of hockey matches and his inventive sporting vocabulary. A native of Sydney, Nova Scotia, Gallivan landed a job with the St. Francis Xavier University campus radio station, CJFX, as a way to help pay for his schooling. His first hockey broadcast, in December 1943, was of an exhibition match between St. Francis and the New Glasgow Bombers. In September 1946, Gallivan moved to Halifax radio station CJCH to become the voice of the local junior team, St. Mary's. It was during a Memorial Cup playoff series at the Montreal Forum that his talents were first noticed by the Canadiens'. His big break came in 1950, when the Canadiens' regular announcer, Doug Smith, took ill and Gallivan was asked to fill in. By 1952, he was the full-time announcer for the newly-established Hockey Night in Canada television crew. Over the course of his 32-year career, he covered some 1,900 regular season and playoff matches, including 16 Stanley Cup victories for the Canadiens. Gallivan's accuracy, enthusiasm, and sophisticated understanding of hockey made him more than just an announcer. His eloquent, exciting phrasing and his imaginative descriptions brought the game to life for radio listeners, and the transition to television was an easy one for him. He was renowned for creating new words and phrases apropos of his play-by-play. His most famous phrase came about during a Montreal power play when a hard slapshot reminded Gallivan of a ball being shot from a cannon. He called it a "cannonading drive." Serge Savard's signature pivot soon became known as the "Savardian spinnerama," while defenseman Larry Robinson's actions became known as "Robinsonian efforts." Gallivan's playful use of the English language was met with some criticism from the academic world, but for the most part, these "Gallivanisms" have become a treasured part of hockey folklore. In 1974, Gallivan was honoured with the ACTRA Sportscaster of the Year Award. His alma mater, St. Francis Xavier University, bestowed upon him an Honourary Doctor of Laws Degree in 1985. In addition, he is an honoured member of the Hockey Hall of Fame's media category.


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