Article from the Edmonton Sun Published March 6, 2019, Written ByGerry Moddejonge
He’s not in any real danger of ever becoming known for having an innate ability to put one in the house.
But that hasn’t stopped Terry Jones from making it all the way into the Hall.
The life-long Edmonton sports columnist is part of the 2019 class announced Tuesday on its way into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.
But, to steal what’s become the rally cry of the sport, there was no ‘hurry, hard’ about it.
“First and foremost, great news and a recognition that is long overdue,” said 1974 Brier winner Warren Hansen, who had been coaching the Edmonton Wildcats earlier in that same decade when he first ran into a young beat reporter looking to earn his stripes. “And we have been friends ever since.
“During my years as the director of media relations for Curling Canada, I had some interesting times with Jonesy and, without getting into details, he taught me clearly at the Calgary Olympics in 1988 that when you are talking to someone in the media, nothing is ever off the record …”
At least, not when it came to Jones informing his readers about any and all aspects of the sport he felt they deserved to see in the newspaper.
“His support of curling in Canada over the years has been second to none and if an Alberta team was in the hunt for a Scotties, Brier or world title, you knew that Terry Jones would be there and the coverage outstanding,” Hansen said. “Terry has been one of curling’s best friends not just in Edmonton and Alberta, but across all Canada for at least the last 30 years. He truly deserves to be recognized as a builder of the sport.”
Jones has become part of a select group of newspaper scribes who have received a call from curling’s Hall, alongside: Don ‘Buckets’ Fleming of the Edmonton Journal; Jack Matheson of the Winnipeg Tribune, who is also the father of Journal hockey writer Jim Matheson; Scotty Harper of the Winnipeg Free Press and namesake of the award for curling writing; and Larry Wood, of the Calgary Herald, who covered more than 50 Briers in his career and nominated Jones.
“Joining those four legends is the thing that tickles me most about receiving this honour,” Jones said. “Although, it’s a pretty short and distinctive list of the other media men that have been inducted as well.”
They are broadcasters ‘Cactus’ Jack Wells, ‘Breathless’ Bill Good, Bob Picken, Vic Rauter, Bob Weeks and Don Wittman.
And the way it works in Canadian curling, there is no media wing in the Hall of Fame, meaning builders like Jones go in with the same status as the Edmonton curlers who have been enshrined, such as: Matt Baldwin, Randy Ferbey, Hec Gervais, Warren Hansen, Hazel Jamison, Cathy King, Cliff Manahan, Ole Olson, Kevin Martin, Pat Ryan. Wally Ursulak and Don Walchuk.
“Whether it’s the writers, the broadcasters or, especially, the curlers, that’s an impressive group of people to join. They’re all five-star Hall of Famers,” said Jones, who knows a thing or two on the topic, given he’s previously been named to a handful of others.
• Winner of the Elmer Ferguson award with entry to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
• The Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
• The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
• Recently became the first sportswriter inducted to the Edmonton Sports Halls of Fame.
• And lastly, but far from least, named the Lifetime Career Achievement award by Sports Media Canada.
This sixth induction will take place at a ceremony tying into the Canada Cup, scheduled for Leduc in November, which is right around the same time as the release of his latest book, World Capital of Curling, which celebrates the centennial of the Northern Alberta Curling Association.
And if history is any indication, the project is more a labour of love than anything for Jones, whose first foray into long-form curling prose saw him literally write the book on Ferbey in 2007, titled, The Ferbey Four: The Kings of Canadian Curling.
They were the first curling team to have a book written about them, even if it’s gone on to become No. 1,121,685 on the Amazon Bestsellers Rank.
“He did a great job on that. There’s a lot of people who thought the book was outstanding,” Ferbey said. “Unfortunately, curling books don’t sell as good as we had hoped they would compared to a hockey book or something.
“But we were flattered that he would even want to do that. We had no qualms about that whatsoever.”
Ferbey couldn’t say the same about all of Jones’s newspaper columns, however.
“Whether you agree with a lot of his writings or not, he was one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to the game,” Ferbey said. “He writes about it with a passion, he wants to see it grow, he’s critical of it. He does everything that a great sports commentator is supposed to do.
“I could tell you stories where, even though we go way back, he’s been very positive with us and other times, he’s been very negative and it just drove me nuts. But that’s Terry Jones, you just sort of take it with a grain of salt and you move on. You can’t dwell on the negative for very long.”
It’s about taking the good with the bad for Ferbey, in a professional relationship that has grown into a friendship between the two Sherwood Park neighbours, who live barely more than a stone’s throw from each other.
And instead of taking a good-natured hack at Jones with a good, old-fashioned takeout-weight story of their past travels, Ferbey elected to draw a different conclusion on Jones’s induction.
“Actually, it’s very deserved, no ifs, ands or buts,” Ferbey said. “Terry is a foremost sports writer in all of Canada and he’s one of the few guys left, even today, that actually talks about curling in Edmonton.
“He will still write about it, still talk about provincial reps and the Brier and all that stuff, so I applaud him for continuing this on for however many years he’s been doing this now. I don’t want to date him.”
Oh, no? By all means, allow us.
Long before he was gifted with the presence of his wife, Linda, along with their son, Shane, twin daughters Nicole and Trina and grandchildren James and Aiden, Jones grew up across the street from the old six-sheet curling rink in Lacombe, and was often conscripted by somebody from the men’s league knocking on the door to see if he could sub for their team that night.
“I’d love to report that it was as to skip, but it was always as a lead,” said Jones, who began writing for the Lacombe Globe in junior high school and, later, the Red Deer Advocate in high school.
“I covered the big Lacombe Farmers Bonspiel every year. I didn’t expect I’d be covering many events bigger than that,” said Jones, who has since added 27 Briers to that list, dating back to his first one in Calgary in 1980. “I did a couple days of sidebar duty with Buckets at the 1973 Brier here before I jumped on the bus with the Oil Kings for a road trip after the first couple of days.”
In addition to covering world championships all over the map, including Las Vegas in 2018, Jones has been to countless provincials, Scotties and Season of Champions events such as the Canada Cups, Continental Cups, TSN Skins Games and Grand Slam series events.
As for looking back on that road map after arriving at a final destination where the name ‘Jones, Terry’ is being enshrined among curling’s legends, the man it belongs to feels like he’s not just in great company, but the company of greats.
“I’ll go in beside Jones, Colleen and – eventually – Jones, Jennifer, voted last week on the TSN poll as the two greatest female curlers of all-time,” he said. “What will be wrong with that picture, huh?”