"Terry Jones 50 years: Synonymous with Edmonton sports for five decades"
Article from the Edmonton Sun: Terry Jones 50 years: Synonymous with Edmonton sports for five decades
He still is six credits shy of graduating high school when his dream job opened the door on a jet-setting career all those years ago
Over the course of his 50 years writing sports for Edmonton newspapers, Terry Jones has but one tiny regret.
If he could go back in time to his first day on the job in September 1967, he would tell his teenage self to keep a count of how many national anthems have been played during games he covers.
Chances are, when you add them all up, he’s stood for longer than a lot of professional playing careers have lasted in this city.
“It’s funny the way this 50 years writing sports in Edmonton has kind of gone. I never thought of it as a significant deal, really, because I never saw it as my finish line,” Jones said. “I never, ever look it up to see exactly what date I showed up. The actual date went by without any celebration.
“But, all of a sudden, special sections were being planned, the Edmonton Broadcasters Club had decided to honour me, the downtown Rotary Club had me speak on my 50 years and people like Ken Hitchcock were calling to congratulate me. I certainly never expected any of it.”
As far as expectations go, he didn’t know what to think the day he picked up a newspaper, hot off the press, in search of his first daily byline, only to discover it read:
By TERRP JONAS
Of The Journal
Looks like he’d have to make a name for himself. Literally.
That initial typo aside, Terry Jones would go on to become synonymous with sports in Edmonton, which for a long time during his tenure managed to capture plenty of the spotlight, both nationally and internationally.
He has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, while earning Sports Media Canada’s Lifetime Achievement award.
But it’s the members of his own hall, including wife Linda, their twin daughters Nikki and Trina, and son Shane, a fellow sportswriter who writes for the Canadian Press and the Sherwood Park News, who outrank those achievements.
As far as the numbers go, the list reads like a stack of TV Guides with all the sports channels highlighted. He’s been to 45 Grey Cups, more than 500 Stanley Cup playoff games, 26 Briers, 21 Super Bowls, 106 World Series games, every single Canada Cup and World Cup of hockey except the most recent one, as well as a handful of Indy 500 races, the Alydar-Affirmed Preakness, the U.S. Open, PGA Championship and Canadian Open, and a Bing Crosby at Pebble Beach, to name just a few.
Internationally, he’s covered 16 Olympics and a similar number of other major Games from the Commonwealths to the Pan-Ams, as well as 20 World Figure Skating Championships, seven of both the IIHF World Championships and World Juniors tournaments, four men’s and three women’s World Cups of soccer, three IAAF world championships in athletics and around a dozen World Cup ski races, including four in Europe.
Not bad for the young kid from Lacombe, who was and still is six credits shy of graduating high school when his dream job opened the door on a jet-setting career all those years ago.
But it wasn’t all banners and glory over the years. There was one particularly dark day in his career, too, even though Jones didn’t find out about it until well after the fact.
“I was apparently once fired by the Journal,” he said. “About two years in, the sports editor was Frank Hutton. Apparently, at a 10 a.m. management meeting, he told everybody he planned on firing me. About 11 a.m., he was replaced by Jack Deakin as sports editor.
“Deakin informed all that the big kid from Lacombe was staying. Deakin told me the whole story about four years later. I never had a clue.”
It hasn’t just been miles worth of column inches in newspapers over the years. Jones has also written 13 books, including: The Great Gretzky, and An Oiler Forever, on Wayne Gretzky, as well as The History of the Edmonton Oilers (1979-99) and the recently released $245, 10-pound collector’s edition Epic Legacy of the Edmonton Eskimos.
Oh, and there is one more thing he would mention to his younger self as he shuts the door on that DeLorean to come back to the future: “I’d tell my younger self not to have as much fun and secretly hope that my younger self wouldn’t listen.”
Honoured Member Terry Jones in the Edmonton Sun
Article from Edmonton Sun: Terry Jones 50 years: Living the dream in Edmonton
I’ve travelled the world and the world of sports. But the best part of the 50 years has been Edmonton itself.
In the fall of 1967, Don Smith, the managing editor of the Edmonton Journal, signed me up for $95 a week.
I floated out of his office. I was a teenaged kid from Lacombe and I had a job as a sportswriter on a major Canadian daily newspaper. I was about to live my dream. Other kids wanted to be sports stars, but from the time I was in Grade 7, I wanted to be a sports columnist. That was 50 years ago.
I wish I’d kept statistics.
How many columns? How many stories? How many sidebars? How many words?
I have no clue.
How many air miles? How many land miles, by car, iron lung (Bill Hunter’s Oil Kings bus back then) and by train? (Yes, I took road trips by train with Clare Drake’s U of A Golden Bears and love travelling by train in Europe).
How many nights on the road? How many Bacardi & Cokes? And the stat I really wish I kept — How many national anthems stood for?
It’s crazy the way it worked out. How many sports columnists have a career story like mine?
I entered a ‘What Remembrance Day Means To Me’ essay contest when I was in Grade 7. Five hundred words — $10 first prize.
I was setting pins at the new bowling alley in Lacombe and was not very busy. So I took a bowling score sheet and one of those little golf card score pencils and attempted, for my own amazement and amusement, to get to 500 words.
I failed. I only made it to 449. I wasn’t real secure with what an adjective was at that point, but I tossed in 26 of the suckers and one-finger typed it when typing class broke up and entered the contest.
They printed it in the Lacombe Globe. By Terry Jones. My first byline.
I went to the Globe for the grip-and-grin $10 cheque presentation. Somehow, while I was there, I talked the Globe’s new publishers Tom and Bert Ford into hiring me at $4 a week to write kids sports results stories.
I turned that into a $5-per-paper weekly column in seven papers in Central Alberta on high school sports before I even managed to get to high school.
Then, in Grade 10, I foisted a high school football story off on the Red Deer Advocate and got hired at 10 cents a column inch and 10 cents a mile to travel around the area covering high school. That wasn’t bad when it came to the 10 cents per mile business because I was too young to have a driver’s license and got paid 10 cents a mile to hitch hike.
I turned that into a part-time/full-time job at the Red Deer Advocate. Three years later, I had the chance — while still a teenager and six credits short of a high school diploma — to join The Journal.
When I arrived in Edmonton in 1967, I was assigned to cover the Golden Bears, the Huskies, the Wildcats, the AJHL and baseball at Renfrew Park plus pretty much anything else that other writers didn’t want to cover. I wanted to cover everything.
That was back when Clare Drake coached both the hockey and the football Golden Bears to national titles the same year. My first flight was with the Wildcats to Vancouver for a playoff game. I remember Roy Phillion, president of the Wildcats, sat next to me on the plane. A nun sat two rows in front of us. He told me they put nuns on the flights over the mountains because of the turbulence.
Over the next few years, I had the Oil Kings, the WHA Oilers and the Eskimos as beats and travelled as well with Can-Am, Trans-Am and Continental Series auto racing as beats.
When I became columnist in 1976, I covered the Montreal Olympics and Canada Cup as two major assignments.
So there I was at the bar in the Lacombe Hotel on Dec. 23, 1976, when my dad waved me over to his table.
“Do you remember this fella?” he asked me of the man having a beer with him.
I confessed he sure looked familiar but I couldn’t come up with his name.
“Well, this is Bob Hill and he was the president of the Lacombe Legion and the man who presented you with the $10 cheque for winning the essay contest.”
I stood there and told Mr. Hill that if it hadn’t been for winning that essay contest, I might not be writing sports for a living.
He looked at my dad. My dad looked back at him and nodded.
“Well, son, I was just talking to your dad about that contest and he said he’d never told you.”
“Told me what, sir?”
“That you were the only entry.”
My whole career, I found out that day, was based on being the only entry in that contest.
Who ends up covering sports in the City of Champions & Championships and travels all over the world — to 50-some countries — covering people like Kurt Browning, Jamie Sale & David Pelletier, Pierre Leuders, Jenn Heil, Randy Ferbey, Kevin Martin and so many more and makes it to 50 years in the same town?
Trust me, I view myself as being the luckiest scribe whoever pounded a portable typewriter and filed by telegraph and went on to go through laptop computer keyboards at a record rate and tweeting up storms.
Who goes from being the only entry in an essay contest to a career covering Wayne Gretzky in the front end of his career to covering Connor McDavid toward the end?
Who covers a football team that wins five Grey Cups in a row to a hockey team that wins five Stanley Cups in seven seasons?
It amazes me now, the greats I’ve watched, the great moments in sport all over the world. But to top it off, there’s been all the history in the greatest town to be a sportswriter in Canada — Edmonton, Alberta.
Edmonton’s sports history basically became my history. Nine of the first 10 Grey Cups I covered, the Eskimos were in the game. I covered the last two dynasties in Canadian sports, the five-in-a-row Eskimos and the five-time Stanley Cup winning Oilers.
For about 30 of my 50 years in Edmonton, I had the best sports-writing job in the country. Ask other writers from my era. It’s true.
On my birthday in 1982, Sun founder Doug Creighton gave me my own sizeable travel budget to entice me to leave The Journal, and The Sun lived up to the deal for more than a quarter century.
I’ve travelled the world and the world of sports. But the best part of the 50 years has been Edmonton itself. This has been the best city to be a sports columnist in Canada not just because of the teams and the athletes but also because of the variety of major events to which it has played host. It not only has been the City of Champions, it’s been the City of Championships.
For most of my years, Edmonton has been the most newsy sports city in the nation. And the city has such passion and such a level of caring for its sports teams that it’s been like you have to be conversant in sports to have a place at the company water cooler.
As a result, every day has provided me with my daily fix. I’ve been doing this for 50 years, and I still can’t wait to go to attack my next column.
And to be able to spend 50 years of a career in one city, first with the Journal, then with the Sun and now as the sports columnist with both? Who does that happen to?
I’ve been beyond blessed. And the best part of it all is that this isn’t my retirement column. I get to continue getting up in the morning to pursue my daily fix and to compete in my event, the 800-word individual medley. I get to continue living the dream I’ve had since Grade 7 and corresponding with you, the most important person of all, the reader. Most of all I thank you, dear reader, for my memories.
Honoured Member Dr Gary Bowie receives Order of Excellence
Yet another honour has been bestowed on a Lethbridge man for his lifetime of service.
On Thursday, Gary Bowie was one of eight recipients of the Alberta Order of Excellence, presented during a ceremony in Edmonton.
Described as “an early builder” of the Lethbridge College Kodiaks and the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns basketball teams, the longtime physical education professor has also been recognized in recent years as “citizen of the year” in Lethbridge and been given the “Key to the City,” along with the Alberta Centennial Medal and the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal.
Bowie, now in his 80th year, has also been presented an honorary degree by the U of L.
For his latest recognition Bowie is cited for “a lifetime of service to the community” which has “improved the lives of others by promoting and celebrating sport and wellness for all” along with his efforts to reduce homelessness.
In response, Bowie said he’s not satisfied to leave community improvement to others.
“Good things happen to you and others when you follow the rule of serving others in the community, church, work and family,” he said.
After completing a master’s degree in the U.S., Claresholm-born Bowie returned to Alberta to begin teaching and coaching at the college in 1962. He became one of the U of L’s founding faculty members in 1967.
In addition to coaching of supporting many championship teams on campus, Bowie is recognized as being instrumental in bringing the Alberta Winter Games and the Canada Winter Games to Lethbridge. He’s since been named to the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, along with further recognitions.
While continuing his active interest in sports and wellness, his community work in recent years has focused on social problems like homelessness and opioid use. He has also served as chair of the city’s Social Housing In Action committee and the city’s Housing First initiative.
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Red Deer Express: Grey Cup Visit
Article from Red Deer Express: Red Deerians line up to see the Grey Cup
Trophy tour in support of Canadian Armed Forces families
One of the most famous trophies in the world – the Grey Cup – made an appearance the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in support of the Calgary Military Family Resource Centre (CMFRC).
“Today at the Hall of Fame the Grey Cup is making an appearance, coinciding alongside a fundraiser that supports the Calgary Military Family Resource Centre,” Executive Director Gord Young said. “All the proceeds are actually going to Red Deer and we have started a new opportunity for a person to be boots on the ground resource person in Red Deer.”
According to Young, the organization helps military families with anything they need including deployments, education, jobs, veteran care and emergency daycare.
“Anything that will help the soldier focus on their mission. They don’t have to worry about where their families are at,” Young said.
The initiative is making its first official inroads into Central Alberta.
“We have been doing that in Calgary for 25 years and we have a small footprint here in Red Deer,” Young said. “Now we get to actually move ahead and get someone here who is available for all the troops and their family here.”
The CFL has a long-rooted history with the CFL and Young related a story about CFL players deployed in England during the Second World War.
“One of the famous stories is the Tea Cup, which was a football game where the Canadians and Americans played in England in 1944,” he said. “Of course the Canadians won 16-6. It was interesting because they played NFL rules in the first half and than Canadian rules in the second.”
Young is pleased to bring the CMFRC to Red Deer.
“We are really glad to have this type of partnership and I hope the City of Red Deer sees how unique this partnership is,” he said. “In the upcoming year, there may be three more deployments.
“We don’t where they will come from, but the Canadian people need to understand that people sign up and are prepared to put their lives on the line for us. The sacrifice a family makes with someone making that type of commitment is serious. We are happy to help anyway we can.”
Grey Cup Visits ASHFM
Friday, September 29, 2017
Admission to the ASHFM is FREE from 1:00 - 3:00pm.
Photo opportunities with the cup starting at 1:30pm
The Calgary Military Family Resource Centre supports the heroes behind the heroes. The organization supports families of our Canadian Armed Forces members in Southern Alberta, including Red Deer and south to Lethbridge.
Programs and services fall into areas such as personal development workshops, deployment services, counseling, health and mental wellness, child and youth programs.
The family resource centre is a registered charity run by a volunteer board of directors that was started in 1991 by the Department of National Defense in conjunction with the Military Family Support Program. To learn more, visit www.calgarymfrc.ca