2013 – Steve Simmons

Steve Simmons

Steve Simmons calls our Sports Media Canada Annual Achievement Awards luncheon his “favourite day of the year.”
In 2013, the veteran sports columnist for Sun Media was even more thrilled considering he was recipient of the 2013 Sports Media Canada George Gross Award for Outstanding Sportswriting. Simmons couldn’t contain his emotions when notified.
“Receiving this is shocking to me,” Simmons said. “When you do what I do, the way I do it, sometimes raw and honest, you don’t expect to be rewarded. And to be named in the category with the people whose work I respect the most in the industry – Michael Farber, Cam Cole, Terry Jones, Al Maki, Bruce Arthur, Stephen Brunt, my dear friend, David Shoalts – is overwhelming. I wish my father was here to see this.”
He is a Toronto-born alumnus of York Mills Collegiate where one of his classmates and football teammates for a time was Jim Ryan, son of renowned NFL coach Buddy Ryan. Simmons was sports editor of his high school yearbook. Like so many in sportswriting, he got a taste of big-time media by phoning in his high school’s scores to the The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star.
Following his time at Western where he was sports editor and sports columnist at the Western Gazette student paper, he landed full-time work with the Calgary Herald as a junior sports reporter in 1979. A year later, he was covering the Flames for the Calgary Sun but returned to the Herald in 1982 as hockey writer/sports columnist.
He returned home in 1987 when the Toronto Sun hired him and he became a sport columnist in 1989.
“Not knowing what my career path would be, I collected newspapers and still have them,” Simmons said. “I fell in love with column writing at a young age, reading people in the Toronto papers like Trent Frayne, Milt Dunnell and Dick Beddoes.”
In addition to that trio, Simmons lists Allen Abel, Frank Orr, Terry Jones, Jim Hunt, Joe Falls and Jim Coleman as career influences.
Among his credits up to 2013, Simmons had covered 14 Olympic Games, 31 Stanley Cup playoff seasons (including 16 Stanley Cup Championships), 13 Grey Cups, 12 Super Bowls, four World Series, two NBA Championships and more than 50 world championship fights which included Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran, Lennox Lewis, Larry Holmes, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe and Vitali Klitschko.
Simmons has authored two bestsellers of non-fiction (Lanny and The Lost Dream). Aside from his sports writing, Simmons was on-air during Day 1 of The FAN sports radio and Headline Sports TV (which became The Score). For 11 years, he’s been part of TSN’s The Reporters with Dave Hodge and he’s a regular on TSN Radio.
He leads an extremely busy life with his craft so it’s astounding to learn that Simmons has also been an avid hockey coach for 25 seasons.

…..by John Iaboni