Don Goodwin hosted the Sports Media Canada Achievement Awards luncheon for a fourth time at the 20th awards luncheon in 2015.

Canada has lost one of its greatest sports media pioneers and legendary broadcasters with the passing of Don Goodwin on Tuesday, August 21. He was 88.

It was Goodwin and George Gross, who passed away at the age of 85 in 2008, who co-founded Sports Media Canada, which represents AIPS in Canada. Their lasting legacy became the Sports Media Canada Achievement Awards Luncheon which was launched in 1996.

“I wanted our organization to be respected because I felt that Canadian sports journalism was not well enough recognized as a serious entity,” Goodwin said on the celebration of the 20th Sports Media Canada Achievement Awards Luncheon in 2015. “When we started it was still perceived as the crushed fedora, cigar-in-the-mouth, hard-drinking types. I didn’t want my career to be known for that. I wanted our profession to be recognized and respected. That was what Sports Media Canada was to be – to identify and to celebrate the importance of sports journalism in Canada.”

“Don is one of the most influential people in the history of Canadian sports media,” said Steve McAllister, who succeeded Gross as President of Sports Media Canada, a position he holds today. “He changed the way the Olympics were covered on television in 1976 when he convinced CBC executives to go live and provide extended hours of coverage of the Montreal Games. Thanks to Don and George, the Sports Media Canada Achievement Awards have become a much-anticipated annual gathering for the Canadian sports community to pay tribute to journalists present and past.

“I’m extremely grateful that Don took an interest in a small-town guy working his first media relations gig at Tennis Canada 25 years ago and became a mentor to me. I’ll miss learning from him and simply being around Don.”

“It was a privilege and honour for me to have known Don from my earliest days as a sportswriter almost half a century ago,” said John Iaboni, who assumed Don’s big shoes as Executive Vice-President of Sports Media Canada. “Aside from our connection in sports, over the years we worked on sports fund-raising committees that assisted charitable causes where I discovered one of Don’s other sides – total professionalism in whatever he tackled. Since 2008, Don brought me on board with Sports Media Canada where I continue the work he established, always with his experience and knowledge there to assist me.

“He was a mentor and, above all, a close, respected friend. I’m going to miss having him there to rely upon for his sage advice and expertise.”

Don began his broadcasting career as a newscaster, sports commentator and disc jockey with private radio stations in Sudbury in the late 1940s. While in Sudbury, he began his avocational involvement in sport, organizing an intermediate basketball team and taking it to the provincial championships.

He also created and published a weekly sports newspaper for a time as a sideline, until his one-man publishing empire was struck down by mumps!

While recuperating he was headhunted by radio station CKY in Winnipeg and moved west. He split four years in Winnipeg between CKY and CKRC, doing sport on both stations and working Canadian Football League games with Jack Wells.

A short stint in the regular army as an officer in the Black Watch Regiment brought him to Nova Scotia where veteran broadcaster Senator Finlay Macdonald recruited him for his radio station CJCH in Halifax.

A Canadian broadcasting highlight was Don’s live broadcast of the British Empire lightweight boxing championship in Johannesburg, South Africa – still the longest distance for a single private-station-originated sports broadcast.

CBC Halifax soon wooed him to be their television sportscaster and his long career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was started. With CBC, he originated the first live telecasts in the Maritimes of basketball, football, badminton, track and field and canoeing.

He also was called upon to contribute items to network programs and eventually asked to join the CBC coverage crews of Olympics, Pan Am, Commonwealth and Canada Games.

For the CBC radio network, he covered a Muhammad Ali fight in London, England as between rounds commentator with Don Dunphy doing the blow-by-blow description. He also covered a heavyweight fight in New York’s Madison Square Garden, this time doing the blow-by-blow description himself.

Goodwin, who rose to become Head of CBC Sports, also became a familiar public address voice behind the scenes heard by fans and athletes around the world for major events such as the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta as well as prestigious international tennis, squash and badminton tournaments.

Without question, Don Goodwin possessed many talents and much passion for sports and sports media. We extend our deepest condolences to Don’s wife, Rosemary, their sons David and Nicholas and their families.