Sports Broadcaster Jack Matheson Dies

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Sports Broadcaster Jack Matheson Dies

Postby jon » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:37 pm

Legendary sportswriter Jack Matheson dies
Father of Journal's Jim was first sportswriting "Matty"
By Cam Cole, Vancouver Sun
January 25, 2011

The Great One turns 50 tomorrow, but before we get on to Wayne Gretzky, sportswriters in this country might want to take a moment to observe the passing of a great one of our own.

Jack Matheson died Monday night in Winnipeg after a long illness.

The crusty columnist, editor and broadcaster - best known for his 35 years at the old Winnipeg Tribune, latterly a fixture on Winnipeg Blue Bomber broadcasts and editorialist on radio station CJOB - was one of Canada's cleverest wordsmiths, and a member in good standing of that class of golden-age sports scribes that included, among others, Jim Coleman, Trent Frayne, Dick Beddoes, Jim Kearney, Milt Dunnell and a young Jim Taylor.

To this generation, Matheson's son Jim, the Hockey Hall of Fame writer from the Edmonton Journal, might be the only "Matty," but that was his dad's nickname first, and Jack Matheson covered 39 Grey Cups and dozens of Briers - curling was his favourite - and after the Tribune folded in 1980, found a second career in broadcasting.

A story in the Winnipeg Sun from last November, when Matheson was already in hospital, recalled how, as a young boy of nine or 10, he would listen to Foster Hewitt calling Hockey Night in Canada games on radio, then sit down and write a game story.

"It was a tossup who he loved more — me or his job," his wife Peggy Matheson told the newspaper. "Sometimes I thought it was his job. He was the only person I knew who wanted his holiday to end so he could go back to work."

Jack Matheson was already a Winnipeg legend when I first met him as a visiting Canadian Football League reporter and occasional fellow panelist on pre-game Bomber shows, and he was unfailingly kind and supportive of young careers - and often good for a column idea or two.

The Jack Matheson Award, given annually to journalism students in Manitoba, was established in 2002.

His boy Jim and I were roommates in Edmonton for a few years in the '70s, and the apple didn't fall far from the tree. A sportswriting lifer, too, he always said he aspired to be as good as his dad.

Jack Matheson was 86.
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