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62 minutes | a month ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 14) - Ken Reid (Sportsnet) - One to Remember - Stories from 39 Members of the NHL's One Goal Club
In hockey, either you are trying to keep the puck out, or put it in the net. Whether you are Wayne Gretzky, who has scored an NHL record 894 times or a member of the NHL's one goal club, they all count the same. Ken Reid (Sportsnet) tracked down 39 players who have lit the lamp just once, and in the process, turned footnotes into features, bringing to life the stories of men who have accomplished a feat that is the envy of anyone who has hit the ice with big league dreams.
76 minutes | a month ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 13) - Paul Romanuk - Hockey Superstars 2020-2021
Hockey fans in Canada know Paul Romanuk best from his broadcasting days at TSN and Hockey Night in Canada (Sportsnet), but for well over 30 years, he has also written Hockey Superstars, an annual release that showcases the NHL's best, to kids. The 2020-21 edition was released on Oct. 6, and Romanuk joined us to discuss the challenges of producing the most recent installment during the pandemic, a TV/Radio career which has taken him to the top levels of sports media, and his new podcast The Walrus Was Paul.
65 minutes | 2 months ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 12) - Serge Savard with Philippe Cantin - Forever Canadien
Serge Savard grew up in rural Quebec following WWII in an era known as Le Grand Noirceur (The Great Darkness), but he didn't see it that way. Confident and astute, Savard went from playing hockey on outdoor rinks reminiscent of illustrations in Roch Carrier's The Hockey Sweater, to starring for the Montreal Canadiens from 1966-67 - 80-81. Once he retired from the NHL, he returned to become their general manager. In total, he won the Stanley Cup 10 times. All the while, he represented Canada internationally, developed his business acumen and fostered political relationships that have propelled him to prominent standing today. On Oct. 21, the English translation of Forever Canadien, his authorized biography written with journalist Philippe Cantin, was released. The result? A comprehensive and intricate look at Savard's direct impact on the fabled history of the franchise, while immersing the reader into a life forged in one solitude.
73 minutes | 2 months ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 11) - Al Strachan - Hockey's Hot Stove - The Untold Stories of the Original Insiders
When journalist Dave Shoalts joined us for Season 2, Episode 5 to discuss Hockey Fight in Canada, his book about the rights battle for Hockey Night in Canada (HNIC), he told us that his print stories about the storied program always moved the dial. It's true, HNIC gets people talking...and writing. Al Strachan had a long history with the show as a panelist on Satellite Hot Stove, the second intermission segment that was created by executive producer John Shannon in 1994 to showcase the insider knowledge of those dialed in around the NHL. Along with Coach's Corner and of course, the game itself, Satellite Hot Stove was part of the triumvirate that made Saturday night appointment TV. Strachan, who entered the media section of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993 for contributions in covering the league, draws on his unique vantage point for an unfiltered read of what went on behind the scenes, after 40 minutes of play.
61 minutes | 2 months ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 10) - Rick Westhead (TSN) - Finding Murph - How Joe Murphy Went From Winning a Championship to Living Homeless in the Bush
Joe Murphy lives in the precarious crack that lies between an uplifting ending or a tragic conclusion. Once upon a time he was the first NCAA player selected in the NHL Draft, a Stanley Cup winner and an eccentric teammate, but today he is homeless and in clear need of mental health care. Could a vicious hit sustained in one of the 779 career games he played from 1986-2000 have significantly altered the path of his life to where it is today? Journalist Rick Westhead (TSN) digs deep into the story of a gifted Canadian kid that went to the top of the hockey world, and the untreated brain injuries that may have caused his unsettling descent.
66 minutes | 2 months ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 9) - Rick Vaive - Catch 22 - My Battles, in Hockey and Life
Ron Hawkins sings of "a wounded soldier from the bad old days," in his song Peace and Quiet, which Tim Thompson wove together with archived footage to create his acclaimed ode to the Toronto Maple Leafs. That lyric rings true when examining the tenure of former captain Rick Vaive. A prolific scorer, he was named team captain at the age of 22 and netted three-consecutive 50-goal seasons while enduring a circus-like atmosphere and futility during the Harold Ballard era. At his peak between 1980-87, he achieved great personal success on the ice, but it also marked a time when the franchise’s legacy to past glory was fully severed. It was a paradoxical experience as a professional in a life that through various contributing circumstances, “left him on the edge of the limelight.” Catch 22 is the title of his memoir which he wrote with journalist Scott Morrison and it was released on Nov. 17. Here is Vaive, in his own words.
52 minutes | 2 months ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 8) - Angie Bullaro / Manon Rheaume - Breaking the Ice
Manon Rheaume was always in a league of her own. Mention her name to hockey fans and most will remember the media frenzy that accompanied her appearance in net with the Tampa Bay Lightning during NHL exhibition play in 1992. While GM Phil Esposito got the attention he sought for his expansion team, Rheaume’s professionalism under the spotlight illuminated the way forward for women’s hockey. Inspired to tell the story on film, actor/producer Angie Bullaro decided that a children’s book could also light a spark for future generations and so Breaking the Ice was born. Hit play and hear what they both had to say!
75 minutes | 3 months ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 7) - Doug Smith (Toronto Star) - We The North - 25 Years of the Toronto Raptors
On Nov. 3, 1995, the Toronto Raptors tipped off against the New Jersey Nets and changed the sports landscape of the city. The Raptors are now a team to be reckoned with but it wasn’t long ago that people would have laughed at the notion they would ever win an NBA title, let alone by the time their 25th anniversary rolled around. Why did they become champions? What were the turning points? How comedic, chaotic, tumultuous, and triumphant has the last quarter-century been? Raptors beat writer Doug Smith (Toronto Star) has pretty much seen it all covering the team from Day 1, and oftentimes he would say, “Man, that’s one for the book.” Now you have it.
69 minutes | 3 months ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 6) - Willie O'Ree - Willie - The Game Changing Story of the NHL's First Black Player
If you are a hockey fan, you probably know the story of Willie O’Ree. In 1958, he became the first black player to skate in an NHL game when his Boston Bruins faced the Montreal Canadiens. The feat wasn’t heralded at the time and Mr. O’Ree’s NHL career lasted just 45 games, though he would go on to play professional hockey until 1979. Following his retirement, he remained far from the public eye until 1996. At that time the league was being run a new regime that was focused on expanding the game into new markets and exposing the sport to different demographics. In O’Ree, the NHL saw a perfect ambassador who had first-hand experience to drive an inclusive message. The rest of his life story is remarkable as well, from an ancestor believed to have found freedom through an early form of the Underground Railroad to his own direct path navigating the segregated southern United States as a baseball prospect…and there is much more. We are pleased to have him join us to discuss his new book Willie – The Game Changing Story of the NHL’s First Black Player, written with Michael McKinley.
66 minutes | 3 months ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 5) - Brian Burke - Burke's Law - A Life in Hockey
Whether it is an attention-grabbing quote, transaction or ruling, Brian Burke has always made a splash wherever he has worked, from the NHL head office, to running a marquee franchise. He is well known for his tenure as the leagues’ disciplinarian and his time at the helm of the Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks, where he won the Stanley Cup in 2007. Since stepping away from management, he has become an analyst with Sportsnet. In his newly released memoir written with Stephen Brunt, Burke sets the record straight on his very colourful and sometimes controversial experiences in the game, while navigating life lessons, balancing familial responsibility and dealing with tragedy along the way. Fair warning, there was no truculent talk or pugnacious exchanges, just good conversation.
68 minutes | 4 months ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 4) - Sami Jo Small - The Role I Played
As a child, Sami Jo Small had visions of summer Olympic glory, but those podium dreams would be realized through a winter sport. When she began playing hockey as the only girl on a boys team in Winnipeg, there had yet to be an IIHF Women’s World Championship or competition at the winter games. An excellent athlete, she landed a scholarship to Stanford University as a track and field competitor while moonlighting in net with the men's club team. A subpar meet led to a chance trip to Calgary, there, the national program happened to be scouting for Nagano 1998. That ticket led to a journey that wasn’t even possible when she first signed up to play. Small discusses the role she played as well as the ongoing fight for equity and inclusion in our newest episode.
60 minutes | 4 months ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 3) - Jeff Pearlman - Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty
As we entered a new millennium, the LA Lakers were in search of the sequel to Showtime. GM Jerry West was looking for answers after the curtain had dropped on Magic, Kareem and Worthy. He found them in Shaq, a larger than life centre and a petulant, singularly focused, rising superstar named Kobe. In assembling this new era of dominance under head coach Phil Jackson, The Lake Show was flying high...but with a whole lot of drama unfolding behind the scenes. Jeff Pearlman (current host of Two Writers Slinging Yang Podcast, former sr. writer at SI and ESPN columnist) is well versed with such themes. This, his ninth book, follows along the arc of trouble in paradise established in earlier works such as Boys Will Be Boys about the wild 1990s Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl runs, and Love Me, Hate Me, which details the inner machinations of "anti-hero" Barry Bonds. Welcome to our conversation.
67 minutes | a year ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 2) - Bryan Berard - My Life in Hockey and the Power of Perseverance
Before Auston Matthews, there was another American star that wore No. 34 for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Twenty years ago, on March 11, 2000, his life changed forever and a promising career was compromised in an instant. Bryan Berard was a dynamic defenseman, drafted first overall in 1995, he won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year after his first season. Just days after turning 23, and on the rise, an errant shot attempt permanently blinded him, but his story didn't end, or begin, with this horrific injury. Along with Jim Lang, Berard released his memoir titled Relentless - My Life in Hockey and the Power of Perseverance, which chronicles his emergence as the Rocket from Woonsocket, through a remarkable return to the game he loved. Join us as he recounts his tale of family, fate, fraud and fortitude.
38 minutes | a year ago
SportsLit (Season 4, Episode 1) - Roy MacGregor - The Ice Chips and the Stolen Cup (Volume 4)
It’s a first! We cover a children’s book. Put your preconceptions aside, because although The Ice Chips series is aimed at kids, the historical and contemporary themes carry a weight that people from all ages and walks of life can appreciate. So, who created this ongoing tale of a diverse time-traveling minor hockey team? Prolific Canadian journalist/author Roy MacGregor (O.C. - 2005, Hockey Hall of Fame - 2012) and his daughter Kerry. With the fourth installment just released in February (The Ice Chips and the Stolen Cup), Roy spoke with us over the phone from his home in Ottawa, about this project, classic material, as well as the state of sports media.
54 minutes | a year ago
SportsLit (Season 3, Episode 5) - Ken Reid (Sportsnet) - Eddie Shack, Hockey's Most Entertaining Stories
It’s a hat-trick! For the third time, Ken Reid (co-anchor - prime time weeknight edition of Sportsnet Central), joins SportsLit to discuss a new book. So clear your audio tracks, it’s time to learn about Eddie “The Entertainer” Shack. Hockey player. Outlier. Salesman. Shack, now 82, is a living link to the Maple Leafs’ last Stanley Cup in 1967, one of four he won with Toronto in the 1960’s. The illiterate son of Ukrainian Immigrants, he has always excelled by going with his gut and shooting from the hip. Find out how his flamboyant personality made him a hit, both on and off the ice.
79 minutes | a year ago
SportsLit (Season 3, Episode 4) - Bernice Carnegie - A Fly in a Pail of Milk, The Herb Carnegie Story
The NHL annually celebrates diversity with the campaign "Hockey is for Everyone", because at one time it wasn’t. Before Willie O’Ree, there was Herb Carnegie. The racial barrier that O’Ree was able to penetrate in 1958 when he became the first black player to play in the NHL, was the same one that kept Carnegie from ever reaching that goal. Born in Toronto, Ontario in 1919, he was a dynamo on the ice, and an equally positive force off of it. After retiring from an impressive semi-pro hockey career in the early 1950’s, he founded the Future Aces Hockey School and eventually the Herbert H. Carnegie Future Aces Foundation which has been providing post-secondary scholarships to students since 1989. Carnegie was also successful in business as a financial advisor, and received the Order of Canada, but the slight of never being able to achieve his dream of playing in the NHL never left him. In 1997, he released his autobiography, A Fly in a Pail of Milk: The Herb Carnegie Story (Mosaic Press) with Robert Payne, now the book is being re-released (ECW Press) seven years after his death with a large section written by his daughter Bernice. She fills in blanks, adds her own story and also that of the Carnegie family as it relates to her father's lasting legacy. Listen as we converse with Bernice about what is new, and what remains the same.
59 minutes | a year ago
SportsLit (Season 3, Episode 3) - Sean Fitz-Gerald (The Athletic) - Before the Lights Go Out
The roots of this country and the game so many love are intertwined…but there is a problem, there has been for a long time. Canadian hockey is approaching a state of crisis because of cost and exclusivity. Reasons as to why this is the case have been thoroughly explored in a new book titled: Before the Lights Go Out: A Season Inside a Game Worth Saving (McClelland & Stewart), by journalist Sean Fitz-Gerald (The Athletic -Toronto). Share in our conversation about how hockey has gone from Roch Carrier’s resonant snapshot of Canadiana that graced $5 banknotes, to a case of who gets to play? and why?
60 minutes | 2 years ago
SportsLit (Season 3, Episode 2)- Jerry Howarth - Hello Friends, Stories from My Life and Blue Jays Baseball
Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth were like extended family for Toronto Blue Jays fans, all you have to do is mention their first names, and people in Canada know exactly who you are referring too. From 1982-2004, the duo broadcasted the sights and sounds of Major League Baseball into cars, garages, workplaces and homes across the country via radio and later, the internet. When a cancer diagnosis forced Cheek to vacate the booth permanently 15 years ago, Jerry Howarth continued to call games until a surprise retirement announcement in Feb. 2018. Now he revisits his journey, from growing up in California to becoming the renowned voice of the Blue Jays for 36 years, in a new book aptly titled: Hello Friends!: Stories from My Life and Blue Jays Baseball. Listen as he discusses what influenced his style, broadcasting two historic World Series runs in 1992 and 1993, and the evolution of the Jays fanbase, plus a blow-by-blow account of an unprecedented 53-minute 7th inning, in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS …. From Bobby Cox to Jose Bautista and everything in between, our conversation with Howarth gives insight into how he did, and still continues to, touch us all.
70 minutes | 2 years ago
SportsLit (Season 3, Episode 1) - Mark Hebscher - The Greatest Athlete You've Never Heard Of
His name is so obscure, it doesn’t even grace the title of a new book about him. Even if author Mark Hebscher included George Washington Orton in the title, would you know who he was? Orton is Canada’s first ever Olympic medallist, reaching the podium with bronze in hurdles and then winning gold in steeplechase at the 1900 Summer Olympics held in Paris. For decades, what should have been a celebrated Canadian achievement, was essentially lost to history. Erroneously, his medals were credited to the U.S. as he was enrolled with the University of Pennsylvania and thus based in Philadelphia. It took 70 years, before the International Olympic Committee corrected their books. By then, Orton’s accomplishment had faded in time. A trivia question based on Orton’s feat sparked Hebscher to investigate and subsequently uncover more about this dynamic man born in Strathroy, Ontario, six years after Confederation. The result is The Greatest Athlete (you’ve never heard of) - Canada’s First Olympic Gold Medallist. Hebscher is most recognizable for his 11 year run at Global’s SportsLine from 1984-1995 where he and Jim Tatti entertained viewers with their unique brand of humour and insight in the early days of sports highlight shows. The father of the legendary Hebsy awards, now hosts his own podcast, Hebsy On Sports. Please join us for a conversation about a true Canadian trailblazer - George Washington Orton
47 minutes | 2 years ago
SportsLit (Season 2, Episode 13) - Phil Lind (Rogers Comm.), Robert Brehl - Right Hand Man
In our final episode of season 2, Phil Lind (Vice-Chair, Rogers Communications Inc.) and author Robert (Bob) Brehl step into the arena to discuss Right Hand Man - How Phil Lind Guided the Genius of Ted Rogers, Canada's Foremost Entrepreneur (Barlow Books). What does this have to do with sports? Well, quite a bit. Lind was in lockstep with Rogers for the purchase of the Toronto Blue Jays 18 years ago, establishing Sportsnet in 1998 to rival TSN, as well as spearheading the Bills Toronto Series, which brought regular season NFL games to Toronto from 2008-2013. Hear Lind and Brehl share their thoughts regarding these subjects and more on SportsLit.
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