Veteran Canadian Sports Journalist Passes

Alec Bollini

Veteran Canadian sports journalist Alec Bollini passed away December 21. Alec had been hospitalized briefly but had otherwise enjoyed good health. His wishes that friends gather for a toast in his memory were completed on Sunday, January 6 at the Boulevard Club. The longtime CBC Radio International broadcaster and Sports Media Canada board member was remembered for being an honourable gentleman who deeply cared for his profession, his tennis exploits and his dear wife, Judy.
SMC executive vice president John Iaboni, board member Fred Walker and awards luncheon committee member Ralph Mellanby were among those who attended the event. Walker and Mellanby remembered Bollini with warm anecdotes about working together with him beginning in Montreal, business relationships that mushroomed into lifelong friendships.
Tennis writer Tom Tebbutt was on duty in Australia at his craft and unable to attend. But he sent along this tribute to Alec Bollini:
“It is going to be hard never again to hear “Tebuto” (Teb-boo-toe) – that was Alec’s way of greeting me. I called him “Bundolo” – it doesn’t really make much sense but there once was a Dr. Bundolo programme on CBC Radio many years ago. Occasionally, I’d call him “Hondrito,” which was the diminutive for his first name – Alejandro.
I went to visit Alec at St. Joseph’s Hospital on Friday, December 21 and arrived at his room on the sixth floor only to discover someone who was not him seated on his bed.
I then went to the nursing station and was told he was “gone” and that was followed by the nurse pointing upward. At first, I thought she meant he had been moved to another floor for treatment, and that it was upstairs from where we were.
Then she said he had died. I knew Alec was not long for the world but I didn’t expect him to leave quite so soon and was in momentarily in disbelief.
Walking along Queen Street right after hearing the news, I had an unlikely experience. The door opened on a parked vehicle beside the sidewalk as I went by and I heard the name “Trent Frayne” on the radio blaring inside. I did a double take because the great writer Trent Frayne was friend of Alec’s and of mine. Then, I think it was on TSN sports radio, I heard some more…“and Randy Starkman.” They were talking about well-known sports journalists who had passed away in 2012 – and here I was just having learned that Alec, a sports reporter for most of his professional life in Montreal, had died.
I’ve known Alec for more than 35 years, from when he was on staff at CBC in Montreal and I was working there as a freelancer – and also from playing tennis on the public courts in the City of Westmount.
He was a terrific guy but he did have one bad quality, which we shared… a temper on the tennis court.
We were also both of the left-of-centre political persuasion, and on my last visit with him he held his arms out as he sat in his hospital bed, and said, “and this isn’t costing anything” – singing the praises of our Medicare system.
Alec was an intelligent man with a curiosity about, and knowledge of, the world that went far beyond Rocket Richard or Guy Lafleur.
But most of all he was just a good-natured, honorable human being.
I wrote about Alec dying on my twitter account. I gave the notice of his passing and then concluded with, “he was a fine man” at the end.
Then I changed it – to “he was a ‘truly’ fine man.”
A really good guy is gone – sorry I can’t be there but Alec would want nothing more than all of you to enjoy yourselves today.
Adios Amigo ”

Alec had been a member of the Radio Canada International staff based in Montreal and later Toronto for several years. He took a special interest in sports both vocationally and avocationally. His personal sports favourite was tennis. He was a longtime member of the Boulevard Club in Toronto and the CBC retiree enjoyed many hours on the courts there.
Alec also frequently represented Canadian sports journalists as a member and leader of Canada’s group participating in the annual World Journalists’ Tennis Championship tournament. The event was staged once in Canada (in Aurora, Ontario) but usually took place in Europe.
Alec was a founding member of Sports Media Canada — serving on the Board of Directors for twenty years.
He is survived by his wife of many years, Judy Bollini.
Judy and Victoria Heart, a longtime friend and associate of the Bollinis, invited any and all of Alec’s friends and acquaintances to the Boulevard Club in Toronto on January 6th to share memories and a glass or two, which would have pleased Alec.