Joe Beninati had himself a night at the 62nd Capital Emmy Awards.
The simply sensational Beninati won his 15th career Emmy Award for Best Sports Play-By-Play Announcer. He was also the 2020 Board of Governors Award honoree. The award is given “for truly outstanding achievement and unique accomplishment of some duration and durability.”
49: Sports Play-by-Play
NBC Sports Washington
Joe Beninati, Play-by-Play Announcer
— Capital Emmys (@CapitalEmmys) August 9, 2020
Beninati, who has been NBC Sports Washington’s play-by-play announcer of Washington Capitals games for the last 25 years, was presented the award by Craig Laughlin. The tribute featured taped congratulations from Gary Bettman, Ted Leonsis, Alex Ovechkin, and many others.
After Joe B. received the award, he took time to tirelessly thank everyone behind-the-scenes who support the broadcasts and those executives who first gave him an opportunity.
Beninati saved his greatest praise for his longtime broadcast partner, Craig Laughlin.
“You’ve welcomed Craig Laughlin and me into your homes all these years and it’s amazing that your ears haven’t fallen off your heads by now,” Beninati said. “There are times when Locker envisions us as a comedy team up in the booth and yes the laughter has helped through the good times and the bad for the Caps, but all of Craig’s hard work and keen insight into the game, they’re no laughing matter. I’m gonna hear that voice of his in my head forever and it’s going to make me smile and I wanna head back to the rink.”
Beninati closed with this observation.
“I don’t think I’ve called my masterpiece yet, but recognition like this, the Board of Governors Award, it definitely lets me know that masterpiece is out there somewhere and I’m going to continue to pursue the excellence that you honor me for this evening.”
Video & transcript of Board of Governors Award presentation
The video jumps to Craig’s presentation.
Craig Laughlin: Hello, everyone. I’m Craig Laughlin and for the last 25 years, I’ve had the honor of sharing the broadcast booth with none other than Joe Beninati. Joe B, as we affectionately call him, is the recipient of the Board of Governors Award and he is so deserving for his work in and out of the booth. Along the way, Joe B has become synonymous with Washington Capitals hockey and his goal calls are second to none.
You can imagine the laughs we’ve had over 25 years. Unfortunately for Joe, they mostly come at his expense. Boy, do I ever with this was a roast. But it isn’t. We’re here to congratulate one of the best in the biz and with that in mind, there’ some folks that’d like to congratulate you, buddy. Here they are.
Ted Leonsis: Joe Beninati. Simply sensational. Congratulations on your well-earned honor. You’re the best. I really miss you, Joe. Go Caps!
Gary Bettman: Joe, congratulations on behalf of the NHL family on the Board of Governors Award. This marks yet another milestone in a great career during which for 25 years you’ve been synonymous with Washington Capitals hockey. Well, well done. Can’t congratulate you enough. You’re a joy to listen to.
Alex Ovechkin: Joe B., congrats winning the award. You’re well deserved. Thank you support for our team.
John Walton: Joe, when I found out you were the winner of the 2020 Board of Governors Award, I knew instantly why. They don’t have any more Emmy awards to give you. 14 Emmy awards. They’re out. You’ve cleaned them out. You are without a doubt the gold standard of sports broadcasting in Washington DC and you have been for 25 years. I am honored to call you a friend and colleague. Here’s to 25 more, Joe, and congratulations.
Bill Bell: Hey, Jojo. Congratulations on winning the 2020 Board of Governors Award. Having worked so closely with you over the last 25 years, my friend, I’ve had a front-row seat to your work ethic, your drive, and your passion for what you do for a living. And I can simply say, you are a credit to our profession and I’m proud to call you my friend. Congrats, Jojo.
Steve “Huey” Farrell: Hey Joe B, It’s Huey. 13 years I was your producer during one of the most exciting eras of Washington Capitals history. Hey man, there are so many things that stand out about working with you but number one, your preparation. Every game you’re ready to go. Number two, it’s your willingness to do whatever was asked of you – sometimes, a little on the shady side. And number three, buddy, it’s your pursuit of excellence of every broadcast. It’s been a pleasure working with you and I can only wish good things for you in the future. Congratulations on the 2020 Board of Governors Award. It couldn’t of gone to a better guy. Congratulations, Joe.
Al Koken: Joe, as someone who has been in this market for a few minutes now, I certainly know everything that the Board of Governors Award embodies. And you, my friend, are the perfect recipient. This honor is well-earned and much deserved. Congratulations, Joe.
Kenny Albert: Hi, Joe. Congratulations on receiving the 2020 Board of Governors Award. It’s a tremendous honor. Nobody deserves it more. You and Locker are a great broadcast team. I love watching and listening to you guys and I’m proud to be your friend for the last three decades. Congrats again Joe. Hope to see you soon.
Alan May: Joe B, congratulations. I am not surprised you’ve gobbled up another award. It seems like every time I turn around every spring or summer, you’re getting another award for your awesomeness. What you’ve done and the amount you’ve showed us over the years, your professionalism, your preparation, is really second to none from what I’ve ever seen. The fact that you’ve been able to garner these awards is absolutely amazing and phenomenal because you’ve had work with Craig Laughlin from Day One. I feel for you there, but you keep coming out on top. Congratulations. Enjoy this. Thank you very much for being my friend.
Ron Weber: Emmy awards. 14 of them Joe? Come on. I guess they ran out of Emmys to select for you so they came up with this new Board of Governors thing. I congratulate you on being recognized in sports and overall news people of the world for having done an excellent job, for now, longer than I have. That’s right, I did that for 23 years but you’ve caught up with me. I have one thing I have on you, I might say. That’s the Hall of Fame jacket because I’m in the broadcasters’ wing, but let’s face it, Joe, it’s only a matter of time before you join me there.
Mike Emrick: Mike Emrick congratulating Joe Beninati, not only for the Board of Governors Award being celebrated tonight but for the wonderful positive memories he’s brought to Washington Capitals fans over the years and the many years he will do so ahead.
Damon Phillips: On behalf of NBC Sports Washington, I wanna congratulate Joe B on this amazing accomplishment. Joe, we’re proud of you, and we’re honored to have you part of our team.
Craig Laughlin: Congratulations again, Joe B, for this well-deserved award. We love you, buddy.
Joe Beninati’s acceptance speech: Thank you all very much for allowing me just a moment to reflect on this wonderful honor. I’m extremely grateful to everyone connected with the National Capital Emmys for this award and greatly appreciate all those there, and at NBC Sports Washington, especially Amanda Zimmer and Brian Potter for nominating me and helping to make it happen.
For someone who makes his living calling goals on television, the goal of this acceptance speech is to give credit to all those who helped inspire me to be my best and do it all in less time than Tom Wilson spends in the penalty box after dropping the gloves for an on-ice fight. So here we go.
The Board of Governors Award- the criteria. It mentions outstanding achievement and unique accomplishment. I’m guessing having a degree in biology and wanting to be an orthopedic surgeon is a unique background for a man who has spent the last 25 years broadcasting sports here in DC. As it turns out, I’m really very glad that my operating room has been housed inside an ice rink and on as many different fields as it takes to call game action in eight different sports. National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, you honor me tonight, but one of the things I find most enjoyable about sports on television is the total team approach required to have a great show successfully reach the air. In my time here, I have been blessed with incredible teammates and phenomenal partners. And it is to them that I give thanks.
To the Washington Capitals, their owners, and executives, their players and coaches and support staffs past and present, I cannot tell you how much it has been to be a part of your success. Alex Ovechkin and his band of merry men recently have challenged my powers of description in every game and they push me to be a better announcer. The Stanley Cup championship run of 2018 was a thrill ride I will never forget and I hope to experience again sometime really soon.
People associate me with the Capitals since it’s the team I’m most known to cover. My connection to them only comes from being a part of a team at what we now know as NBC Sports Washington. It was Sandy Pastore of DC 20 who opened the door for me in this market. Then it would be Jody Shapiro, Bill Brown, Sam Schroeder, Tim Walbert, Jim Cudahy, Ernie Bower, Rebecca Schulte, and Damon Phillips – executives who were kind enough to keep me feeling more than welcome no matter what the station was at the top of the letterhead.
We are a regional sports network at NBC Sports Washington but we are fortunate to have a group of talented technicians, men and women with incredible work ethics whose abilities rise up to fill many important roles on many different nationally broadcast shows. I’m gonna be forever grateful to them for helping us look and sound our best on game day.
The sports fan base in Washington has been tremendously kind to me since 1994. Their passion for the home team is first-rate and it’s my hope that they recognize the energy that I bring to a broadcast is just an extension of their roar. With any luck, we will all be working together to fill the arena with booming calls for many, many more years.
To our Capitals broadcast crew, everyone in front of the camera and behind them, an assembly of talented men and women from pregame coverage to inside the game and throughout the night, postgame shows. This group of people has felt like family to me for so many years and I am very appreciative for all the efforts you give to make our hockey show one of the very best.
I’m not one of these announcers who like to produce from the booth. It’s just not me. Thank goodness I’ve never had to. Not with Steve Farrell, Ryan Billie, Chip Winfield, Rich Wolf, Kevin Santos, and Jason Murphy, doing such a terrific job throughout the years, while Tommy Morris and Carter Myers keep things nice and under control for us in the press box. Where does the time go by? 25 seasons of hockey in the nation’s capital. So many games dissected and analyzed so very well by Al Koken and Rob Carlin, Alan May and Brent Johnson. I’m so lucky, my work assignment is to describe sporting events and do it surrounded by many great friends.
I’ve saved thanks for two of my dearest friends until close to the end of this conversation. NBC Sports Washington’s executive producer of live events, Bill Bell, has been a guiding hand throughout my time in DC. His love for sports and broadcasting them well on TV has always been inspiring to me. His belief in my abilities has motivated me more than he will ever know.
You’ve welcomed Craig Laughlin and me into your homes all these years and it’s amazing that your ears haven’t fallen off your heads by now. There are times when Locker envisions us as a comedy team up in the booth and yes the laughter has helped through the good times and the bad for the Caps, but all of Craig’s hard work and keen insight into the game, they’re no laughing matter. I’m gonna hear that voice of his in my head forever and it’s going to make me smile and I wanna head back to the rink.
My mom and my late father. They were the ones who first brought me to Commack Arena on Long Island. I fell in love with the game thanks to them. With my sister and brother in law and their family always offered encouragement, it’s been my great honor to bring them lots of entertainment from stadiums all around the world.
I sincerely hope that tonight’s festivities do not serve as a lifetime achievement award. Man, I feel like I have many many more strong years ahead of me on the air. I don’t think I’ve called my masterpiece yet, but recognition like this, the Board of Governors Award, it definitely lets me know that masterpiece is out there somewhere and I’m going to continue to pursue the excellence that you honor me for this evening. You realize I haven’t worn a suit in months so thank you very much for helping me remember how to wear formal clothing. Congratulations to all the Emmy nominees and the winners. Have a great night everyone.
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