Hugh Stafford Delano, 81 a lifelong Cranford, NJ resident died on April 5 after a long illness. A sports columnist and author, Hugh is a member of the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame and the National Hockey League Hall of Fame.
He was born in Cranford on December 14, 1933 and a graduate of Cranford High School Class of 1952. He attended Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland and served in the United States Marine Corps. He was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant in 1956. His service included time at Subic Bay, Philippines. In 1958 he married Marylou Lyons.
During high school years, Hugh was a sportswriter for the Cranford Citizen and Chronicle. That experience and his love of sports developed into a long career in journalism. First employed at the Plainfield Courier-News as a general news reporter, he advanced to sports columnist and assistant sports editor. In 1967, Hugh joined the Newark Evening and Sunday News as a state scholastic and collegiate writer. He was assigned in 1968 to Major League Baseball, covering the New York Yankees and New York Mets and in alternate seasons, covering New York Giants football and New York Knicks basketball. Fulltime coverage of the National Hockey League and the New York Rangers began in 1969 and established his identity as "The Ice Man" in a weekly column.
Upon joining the New York Post in 1971, his coverage of the New York Rangers continued until 1983 when he was assigned to the New Jersey Devils until his retirement in 1993. In his years as a hockey writer he covered the famed Canada-USSR tournament in 1972 and the Canada Cup tournament in 1976 and the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs from 1970 through 1993. Other assignments included the "Miracle Mets" 1969 World Series victory over the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Giants Super Bowl XXV victory over the Buffalo Bills in 1991.
In 1975, the book "Power Hockey" was written by Delano with NHL players Ken Hodge and Don Awrey. "Eddie, A Goalie's Story" was published in 1976 and recounted the early life and long hockey career of New York Rangers' goalie Ed Giacomin. As a contributing writer, Hugh's work appeared in numerous sports magazines, media guides and reference journals as well as The Sporting News, The Hockey News, Sports Illustrated and The New York Times.
Delano's commitment to sports and journalism extended as an Officer of the New York Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and he was the recipient of the Al Laney Award service to hockey in 1994. He was a lifetime member of the Baseball Writers Association of America and the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame selection committee as well as a Life Member of the New Jersey Sportswriters Association.
In 1983 while covering the New Jersey Devils, he was honored have the team's "Unsung Hero Award" created in his name and each year since then, the "Hugh Delano Unsung Hero Award" is voted upon by the team's players.
The culmination of his hockey-writing career was his 1991 induction to the National Hockey League Hall of Fame in Toronto. The ceremony that year took place in the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa and Ed Giacomin presented Hugh for that honor. He received the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for outstanding journalism and media service to professional hockey. In 1998, he was honored with his induction to the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame.
Delano had a strong interest in military history, especially that of the United States Marine Corps. He was a member of the Marine Corps Association, the Marine Corps League, the Marine Corps Historical Association, the Orders and Medals Society of America, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. Material written by him appeared in military magazines.
Other organizations to which he belonged were the Sons of the American Revolution and the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America.
Delano maintained his loyalty to Cranford with active membership in the Cranford Historical Society and was awarded the status of Emeritus Trustee. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Cranford and the Friends of the Cranford Public Library.
Hugh is survived by Marylou, his wife of 57 years and four sons, Buzz and wife Lisa of San Clemente, CA, Jonathan of Cranford, Peter and wife Susan of Bedford, NH, Craig and wife Kim of Henderson, NV and grandchildren Madison, Colin and Christopher.
A private funeral service officiated by Reverend John C. Kile, Pastor Presbyterian Church, took place on April 10 at Gray's Funeral Home, Cranford with burial at Fairview Cemetery, Westfield. A memorial gathering will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the Cranford Historical Society, 38 Springfield Avenue, Cranford, NJ 07016 or the Friends of the Cranford Public Library, 224 Walnut Avenue, Cranford, NJ 07016.
An online signature and condolences book is available at http://grayfuneralhomes.tributes.com/obituary/show/Hugh-Stafford-Delano-102352128. Arrangements by Gray Memorial Funeral Home, Cranford.