Peter Vander Veer, whose career in sports journalism spans more than four decades, has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Art McGinley Award by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.
The award, which honors a current or former member of the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance for his meritorious service to the organization, will be presented at the 71st annual Gold Key Dinner on April 29 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
Vander Veer, currectly a freelance writer for Hersam-Acorn Newspapers, began his writing career at the now-defunct New Haven Journal-Courier in October 1969, the same year he graduated from the University of New Haven.
He was at the Journal-Courier fulltime, covering high school sports and local auto racing, until August 1974.
He returned to his alma mater as the sports information director at New Haven during the 1974-75 school year.
In his one year there, Vander Veer’s 1975 UNH Baseball Guide was chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) as the second-best media guide in the nation among Division II-III schools.
A 1964 graduate of Amity Regional High School, Vander Veer returned to covering high school sports at the Groton News, a sister paper of the Norwich Bulletin, and eventually joined the Bulletin sports staff.
He remained there until 1978 when he returned to the University of New Haven as a graduate student and as the school’s SID.
Vander Veer resumed his sports writing career as a freelancer for various state newspapers, including the New Haven Register (1984-89), Connecticut Post (1990-2003), Norwich Bulletin (2001-present), Elm City Newspapers (2003-2011), Shoreline Times (2000-2010), and Hersam-Acorn Newspapers (2011-present).
He has also worked in auto racing publicity for Stafford Motor Speedway, Thompson International Speedway, Waterford Speedbowl and at Riverside Park Speedway.
In addition, Vander Veer worked for Trackside Magazine (West Springfield, Mass.) from 1990-2003 as a feature writer and columnist, and was a program writer for more than 10 tracks throughout the northeast.
He is also a member of the New England Auto Racers and serves on its Hall of Fame selection committee.
Vander Veer first joined the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance in 1971 and has served as past secretary and is currently financial secretary of the organization.
He has also been a member of the Gold Key selection committee since 2008.
In addition to Vander Veer’s award, the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance will be presenting Gold Keys to Kristine Lilly, Dave Shea, John Dunham and Mike Walsh.
Also, Granby Memorial field hockey coach Sandy Wickman Mason will receive the Doc McInerney High School Coach of the Year Award in a female sport, while Manchester High boys track and field coach Thayer Redman will be honored as the Doc McInerney High School Coach of the Year in a male sport.
Former UConn basketball player Kemba Walker will receive the Bill Lee Male Athlete of the Year Award, while former University of New Haven track star Shannon Gagne will be honored as the Hank O’Donnell Female Athlete of the Year.
Former Masuk High quarterback Casey Cochran was selected as the Hal Levy High School Athlete of the Year Award winner, and Dave Balfore will receive the Bob Casey Courage Award. The remaining award winners will be announced in the next two weeks.
Tickets to the 2012 Gold Key Dinner, which begins at 4 p.m., can be purchased by contacting either CSWA President George Albano of The (Norwalk) Hour at Truckin114@AOL.com, or Vice President and Dinner Chairman Bob Ehalt of The New Haven Register at Ehalt.B@sbcglobal.net.
Tickets can also be obtained by mailing a check for $75 to Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT, 06085.
For more information on the history of the dinner, visit the Alliance website at ctsportswriters.org.