2007 Ron Harrison

Ron Harrison
by Ralph Mellanby

Ron Harrison is indeed a Canadian Television legend and is regarded as one of the greatest sports television directors in Canadian TV history.

Ron Harrison

Ron Harrison

Born and educated in Guelph, Ontario, Ron started in the business with CBC in the early 60’s, first as a copy clerk and then moved to finance. He later gravitated to CBC Sports first as a script assistant, then into the position of Production Assistant mentored by the storied George Retzlaff (a member of the Sports Media Canada Honour Roll) who, himself, was regarded as the outstanding TV sports director of his generation.

Under Retlzaff’s tutelage, Ron learned the business well until finally he was felt to be ready to be a producer-director and was transferred by the CBC to the busy west coast sports hub – Vancouver – as a producer and director of network sports for the west. The rest is history!

Ron was soon regarded as CBC’s finest director of golf, football, track and field and above all – hockey. He also did special event coverage – including what must be regarded as his major success – the opening ceremonies of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

Stanley Cups, Grey Cups, Olympic Games all followed, and Ron also put his stamp on Canadian Open golf, tennis, Pan American Games, World Championships, and Super Series. Expos and Blue Jays baseball are also on his long list of credits.

His work in the industry was recognized with two Emmy Awards, two Geminis and now this Sports Media Canada Achievement Award.

In the 1980s Ron Harrison established his bona fides as an outstanding executive running Hockey Night in Canada and the Molson Indy Auto Races in his position as Vice President of Molstar Communications – during which he fashioned new sports television innovations as a high mark of a great career.

On a personal note, I was privileged to sit in the chair next to Inch (his nickname) in our TV mobile unit control rooms on most of the aforementioned events as his producer. Included were his greatest personal achievements – 15 Stanley Cup Finals, the Tiger Woods Canadian Open win, the Lake Placid “Miracle On Ice” and specials such as ‘Showdown in the NHL’ and ‘Super Series ’76.’

When times were tough – and I was sometimes (often) over-excited and the pressure mounted – Inch would say to me: “Ralph – relax – 100 years from now nobody will remember!”

I disagree Ron. 100 years from now everyone will remember your accomplishments and they’ll remember how you changed the face of Canadian sports television.

Your Sports Media Canada Achievement Award is well deserved. I’m happy to say I’m proud to know you and to have worked side by side with you during some of the what will be remembered as the greatest moments in sports history.