Awards Luncheon Great Success

It may have been the best-ever. The 17th Annual Sports Media Canada Achievement Awards presentation luncheon in the Concert Hall of the Royal York Hotel on Wednesday, October 16 was again an acknowledged success.

Over 300 members of the sports media past and present, representativess of sports teams and organizations, athletes including several members of Canada’s London Olympic team along with friends and followers of sports journalism were in attendance.

The principal award — in recognition of a distinguished career in sports journalism was graciously accepted by Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun. His pleasure and delight in receiving the Award was evident — as was its warm and enthusiastic endorsement by the large audience.

Terry, who had been recipient of the 2003 Outstanding Sportswriting Award, was introduced by longtime friend and colleague John Iaboni, co-chair of the Awards Luncheon Organizing Committee. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment President Tom Anselmi handed Terry the Award.

The 2012 Outstanding Sportswriting Award went to Bruce Arthur of the National Post, who was introduced by Post Sports Editor Jim Bray and Sportsnet Executive Producer Scott Morrison handed over the Award. Bruce’s acceptance remarks concluded with a comment that underlined his approach to sports journalism — that when all the fuss of the Awards luncheon settled down — he’d be getting on to find something interesting and useful to write about tomorrow.

The Award for Outstanding Sports Broadcasting was also clearly a popular choice of the assembly. Rod Smith of TSN was the recipient, introduced by former TSN program host Jim Van Horne. Colleague Brian Williams handed Rod the Award Trophy.

His photo of a jubilant Canadian women’s Olympic soccer team was on the cover of the Sports Media Canada Journal magazine distributed at the Luncheon and a quiet, unassuming photographer from the Edmonton Journal, Ed Kaiser calmly and appreciatively accepted the Award after his introduction by veteran tennis photographer Ron Turenne with Tom Anselmi on hand with the Award Trophy.

The Canadian Sports Executive of the Year Award went to Mark Chipman who led the move to re-establish the Winnipeg Jets in the NHL. Unable to attend owing to ongoing work on the negotiatiion with the NHL Players Association, Sports Media Canada President Steve McAllister accepted on his behalf.

The President’s Award went to Howie Starkman of the Toronto Blue Jays — longtime public relations practitioner in Canadian sport — for years with the Toronto Maple Leafs and latterly in major league baseball with the Blue Jays. Steve McAllister introduced Howie and Blue Jays President & CEO Paul Beeston presented the Award Trophy

Honouring the goal of identifying and celebrating the work of Canada’s great sports journalists, Sports Media Canada also reaches back into the past and presents Posthumous Awards — this year to the Walker brothers Hal and Gord and to recently deceased Randy Starkman — all spoken of to the gathering by Evanka Osmak of Sportsnet who presented the Award Scrolls to Hal Walker’s son Bruce, Gord Walker’s son Terry and Randy  Starkman’s daughter Ella.

Paul Hendrick of Maple Leafs TV and Sportsnet was the Master of Ceremonies.