The Central Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame will make another attempt to hold its 50th Induction Ceremony, on Monday November 15, after having to cancel the ceremony last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s event will have a couple of important changes, including holding the event at Lebanon High School at 7 p.m., with no meal and no cost to attend.
Masks will be required to enter the building.
The 2021 inductees are Ed Bouchette, Frank Etchberger, Jeff Fortna, Ken Kulina, Paula Light and Sue Sutcliffe. Also being recognized are courageous athlete ChloeAnn McCoy and the late Ed Werth for his community service.
Bouchette, a Lebanon County native who resides in the Pittsburgh area will be making the trip for the ceremony said, “I played Little League and Teener ball and a little Legion for Annville but my second year I had surgery and couldn’t do much. That was the year the Lebanon Valley Teeners went to the state championship in York, and I went but didn’t play.”
Bouchette earned a business degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, but admitted he had no idea he’d end up doing what he did, which began with answering an ad in the student newspaper during his freshman year to cover freshman basketball. He did that, then was hired to work in the public relations office and really liked that.
“That’s when I started taking electives in journalism and English and had built up enough stuff and started to get job offers from papers, so that’s what I decided to do,” said Bouchette. “I worked for a number of papers, including the York Dispatch, then in 1983, I was hired by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and was there until the last two years when I went to The Athletic.”
Bouchette was also privileged to have voted for the Baseball Hall of Fame and NFL Hall of Fame, but stopped the baseball voting a few years ago. He remains one of 48 dignitaries to vote for the NFL inductees.
When questioned about the biggest change he has seen covering pro sports, in particular the Pirates and Steelers, he stated, “Players now are less accessible, but that’s not the their fault, it’s the management. When I started covering the Steelers, if I wanted to interview someone I’d go to the PR guy and he would ask who I wanted. He’d say ‘OK, I’ll get back to you and he would with a time and place.
“Now, especially with the pandemic, it’s just hard to talk to them one-on-one, so most of the time it has to be in a group,” added Bouchette. “I feel that’s the way it will continue to be, because they have seen it hasn’t affected the product. It’s the same with the coaches, because I used to be able to just walk into their office and sit down, I haven’t been able to do that for years.”
Bouchette concluded the interview saying, “I covered the Steelers for 35 years for the Post Gazette, and it was a grind, but I don’t have that anymore. Now I write stories and can pick and choose if I want to go to all the away games like I used to, or whatever I feel might be a good story.”