2012 – Terry Jones

Terry Jones

On the morning after covering the latest Labour Day Classic for The Edmonton Sun, a thrilling 31-30 win by the host Stampeders over the archrival Eskimos, sports columnist Terry Jones was back home in Edmonton when we contacted him.
After a few chuckles punctuated by that distinct Jonesian laugh as we briefly caught up on our lives, he was informed of the real reason for reaching out to him on this surprise connection: “Congratulations, Terry, you’ve been selected recipient of the 2012 Sports Media Canada George Gross Award for Career Achievement!”
To say the big guy was overcome with emotion was putting it mildly. Even with all he’s accomplished – and continues to accomplish – in his simply brilliant sportswriting career, even with all the honours he’s received, this one from Sports Media Canada was mighty special, too.
“That’s fabulous,”he said. “Just fabulous … you’ve made my day … my month … my year.”
Last November, Jones was also in Toronto as part of Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend where he received the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism. In 2002 he gained entry into the Football Reporters of Canada Hall of Fame and the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. The following year, he earned the Sports Media Canada Award for Outstanding Sportswriting. Now, Sports Media Canada accords him another prestigious honour.
“To go into the writers wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame as the winner of the Elmer Ferguson Award and then to get the call to tell me I’d be back in October for the Sports Media Canada Award now carrying the name of George Gross are pretty much the two best things that can happen to a sportswriter in a career,” Jones said. “I’m just tickled. And I’m not really sure which call meant the most.”
During an interview with me at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, Jones talked of how incredibly blessed he’s been to have covered all that he has, starting in 1967 with The Edmonton Journal and continuing to this day with The Edmonton Sun who lured him over on his birthday in 1982.
“There aren’t really statistics for sportswriters other than event coverages,” he said. “I’d love to know how many national anthems I’ve stood for,
airline miles I’ve piled up, all those nights in hotels, all that kind of stuff, I have no idea. But
you can keep score of the events coverage: 16 Olympics, seven Commonwealth Games, three Pan-Ams, there was a Goodwill Games in there and, of course, we had the Universiade in Edmonton.
“I might be the luckiest guy in my time in the business. I mean, I covered Wayne Gretzky and arguably the greatest, if not the greatest, I’m sure the most exciting hockey team I think, in the Edmonton Oilers. They and the Montreal Canadiens were pretty good, too. But there were five Stanley Cups in that time (for the Oilers). And then there were five consecutive Grey Cup wins by the Edmonton Eskimos from1978 to ‘82.”
Add almost 40 consecutive Grey Cup Championships, more than 100 World Series games, in excess of 500 Stanley Cup playoff games, 16 Olympics, 20 Super Bowls, 20 Briers, every Canada Cup/World Cup of Hockey tournament since 1976, pushing 20 World Figure Skating Championships and a few World Track and Field Championships.
“That’s one of the things — we’ve had so many major international events here in Edmonton that in an attempt to educate the town I got educated,” he said. “It’s a pretty interesting place.”
He hails from Lacombe, a town now of about 11,000 in central Alberta, north of Red Deer and south of Edmonton.
“Lacombe was 3,000 when I grew up there,” he said. “I was the only entry (I found out after I became a columnist) in an essay contest that led to a $4 a week job with The Lacombe Globe that year.”
So from collecting kids’ sports scores when he was in Grade 7, he was full time in the business by the time he hit Grades 11-12.
Sportswriting has been his passion — something his wife, Linda, and son Shane (who’s also a sportswriter) and twin daughters, Trina and Nicole, have learned and accepted.
All his travels, his words, the games he’s covered and his ongoing dedication as a giant in Canadian sports journalism are recognized with the presentation of the 2012 Sports Media Canada George Gross Award for Career Achievement — to Terry Jones of Edmonton.