Harvey L. Smith
Harvey Smith didn’t grow up playing hockey. But in three decades broadcasting the sport on the radio, he was a true pioneer of the sport in New Hampshire.
Smith started broadcasting high school hockey for WKXL radio in Concord 1979, joining play-by-play announcer Jim Rivers to form a duo that would broadcast more than 1,000 games together, in all sports. They became the longest running continuous broadcast team in high school sports in the country.
He was an accomplished coach in other sports. His boys’ tennis teams at Concord High School, where he taught, won 14 Class L championships. His 527 wins were the sixth-most all-time nationally he was named national Coach of the Year in 1988. Prior to that, he guided cross country teams at Bishop Brady and Simonds (now Kearsarge) to 10 state titles.
But he came to love high school hockey and delivered the state hundreds of magical moments via his broadcasts. He called 15 state championship games in New Hampshire during his three decades in the booth, and shared the booth with legends like Osborne, Rivers, Jeannotte, Gardner Hill and Ken Cail.
“The biggest challenge was the X’s and O’s, getting to know the sport of hockey,” said Smith. “There were coaches on the state that would sit down with me and explain it. Doc Hurley at Trinity and Dunc Walsh at Concord were two that were very helpful.”
A teacher at Concord High School, he introduced the concept of including interviews with student-athletes in his broadcasts, which to that point had only included input from coaches.
“I was working with veterans like Dick Osborne for hockey and Jim Jeannotte for basketball,” he said. “The general trend of the media was to stay away from the student-athlete. I found a lot was missing from the broadcasts.”
“When others were merely explaining what was happening on the ice, he always took it a step further through his dedication to both the game and the student-athletes,” said Rivers.
Smith also broadcast Concord High School football for more than 30 years and won three “Golden Mic” awards in New Hampshire for play-by-play.
As girls hockey began growing in popularity, Smith did the play-by-play for the first game recognized by the NHIAA, the season opener between Concord and Lebanon in 2007-08.
“In all my years in broadcasting sports in New Hampshire, Harvey Smith was easily one of the most prepared and knowledgeable color commentators that I have been associated with,” said Cail. “His attention to detail and his dedication to the game of hockey translated into outstanding coverage of the sport on the high school level.”
Not bad for a guy who grew up playing basketball.
“That’s the incredible part of the story,” said Smith. “I never owned a pair of skates.”