John Hoffman is 80, and the legendary Lynn sports broadcaster is showing no signs of slowing down.
In fact, one of his signature events of the year, the Lynn TV-15 Awards Night is set for this Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Lynn Classical High School Auditorium. More than 100 athletes will be honored with awards, followed by a buffet dinner catered by Taso Nikolakopoulos and John’s Roast Beef. Harrington Trophy is also a sponsor.
Where did John Hoffman spend his recent 80th birthday?
Right where you would expect: At the Tsongas Center in Lowell at the microphone doing the basketball play-by-play for the St. Mary’s-Amesbury Division 3 girls’ North Sectional final and later for the Lynn English-Central Catholic Division 1 boys’ North final. Both Lynn teams won to advance to the TD Garden.
55 Years of Marriage
Hoffman eventually celebrated his 80th birthday a few days after the sectionals during a gathering at the Fantasy Island Restaurant in Salem. This week John and Jean (Finnell) Hoffman celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary.
It’s 36 years of broadcasting and counting for Hoffman, who has become synonymous with Lynn high school sports on television.
“I love it because I’ve been involved with a lot of great people,” said Hoffman. “The students who do the camerawork are tremendous. They do all the work, I just do the talking. The guys behind the camera should get the credit.”
Covering high school sports has meant a lot of nights away from the family for Hoffman.
“My family has let me do it – my wife, Jean, and my daughters, Chris and Cathy, my granddaughters, Shanna and Jenna – they’ve allowed me do this because I’m away more than I’m home,” said John, who is a 1956 graduate of St. Mary’s High School. “I miss a lot of meals and some parties.”
Hoffman, who was honored at a sold-out testimonial at the Nahant Country Club, said one of things he likes most about broadcasting is the unscripted-ness of each game.
“You never know whether the game’s going to be a blowout, a one-point win, or whether someone’s going to hit a three-point basket at the buzzer, hit a home run in the bottom of the seventh, or score a goal in the final minute – no game is the same.
“But the best part of this whole experience has been the friends I’ve made – I can’t count the number of friends I’ve made both in Lynn and in Everett doing the Everett High football games (with Lynn’s Paul Halloran),” said Hoffman. “So many coaches, referees, umpires, family members have been so good to me over the years. It’s been a blessing. I look forward to it all the time. Each time I tell my wife, ‘Don’t pinch me, I don’t want to wake up and find out this was a dream.’’’
At least one member of the Hoffman family is following the proud patriarch in to the world of sports. Hoffman’s grand-daughter, Shanna McCarriston, a graduate of Quinnipiac University, is an aspiring sportswriter who covered the Patriots’ Super Bowl win over the Rams in Atlanta for The Sporting News. She also had an internship with the North Shore Navigators.
As for Hoffman, he’ll be back behind the microphone as the master of ceremonies for the TV-15 Awards Night on Sunday.
“It keeps me young being with the student-athletes,” said Hoffman. “Otherwise I’d be stuck in the house with a clicker in my hands watching television.” Instead there are thousands in Lynn listening to John Hoffman on television doing something he enjoys very much.