2004 Cam Cole


Cam Cole has been the principal sports columnist of the National Post since the newspaper’s birth in 1998, when Conrad Black’s longshot gamble was reaching into newsrooms all across the country trying to recruit the ‘liveliest writing staff’ in Canadian journalism. Cole had spent 23 years at the Edmonton Journal, his first daily newspaper job, where he found himself writing stories and columns on two of the greatest Canadian sporting dynasties of the modern era — the 1978-82 Edmonton Eskimos and the 1984-90 Edmonton Oilers.

Cam Cole

Cam Cole

Five Grey Cups, followed almost instantly by five Stanley Cups, was, he says, “not a bad way to meet all the great sportswriters I had grown up reading, like Frank Orr and Red Fisher, Trent Frayne and Jim Taylor, Jim Coleman and Milt Dunnell, all of whom are members of the Sports Media Canada Honour Roll.”

Born in Vegreville, Alberta, at the time a town of 3,000 not far from Edmonton, he dropped out of the University of Alberta after one year in science — “hotly pursued by the parking-ticket police,” he says — and worked three years for a book-and-magazine distributorship in Edmonton before re-enrolling at the U of A to find his real calling, writing and editing sports.

The very first sports team he ever covered for the student paper, The Gateway, was Clare Drake’s perennial-champion University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey club, and “that’s the team, I suppose, that taught me how winning was achieved,” says Cole. “They also taught me to love travel. “People laugh at Edmonton’s ‘City of Champions’ signs, but the number of university, junior, Canadian and world champions on your doorstep every day in Edmonton presented opportunities for stories and travel that not many others in our business ever had.”

Cole has covered sporting events in 22 countries for the Journal and the Post — among them, six World Series, eight Super Bowls, 10 Olympic Games, 12 world figure skating championships, 20 Stanley Cup finals, 21 Grey Cups, and 34 major golf championships.

He was inducted into the Canadian Football Reporters Hall of Fame in 2002, and counts playing Augusta National (twice), watching the great Edmonton Oiler teams grow up, and caddying for Jack Nicklaus as his greatest thrills in sportswriting.

Now 51, Cole lives in Toronto with his wife, Jan, daughters Michelle, 21, and Kelly, 18, and his border collie, Kes.