Admissions: 1985 – 2012

By HOWARD BERGER

TORONTO (Feb. 24) – While scavenging through my apartment locker last week, I came upon a bag of media credentials dating to more than a quarter-century – most of of them accumulated during my 23-year term as a reporter at The FAN-590, Canada’s first all-sports radio station (now Sportsnet-590).

They re-kindled memories of teams, arenas and ballparks now defunct and made me realize – once again – that I’m no spring chicken anymore. But, they also tell quite a story and I’m happy to share a number of them with you here, even though my mug-shots are a trifle embarrassing:

KEY-CHAIN (LEFT) FROM PRE-ALL SPORTS ERA (1988, ON THE AM-1430 FREQUENCY) AND MICROPHONE FLASH I HAULED AROUND WHILE COVERING THE MAPLE LEAFS.

PART OF ME SHOWED UP ON THE 2009-10 WASHINGTON CAPITALS SINGLE-GAME PASS, INTERVIEWING NICKLAS BACKSTROM DURING ’09 PLAYOFFS AT VERIZON CENTER.

STUCK TO MY LAP-TOP: NHL MEDIA PASSES FROM (UPPER-ROW, LEFT-TO-RIGHT) DALLAS, PITTSBURGH, ST. LOUIS AND COLUMBUS. (BOTTOM ROW, LEFT-TO-RIGHT) ANAHEIM, PHILADELPHIA WASHINGTON (ME AGAIN) AND CHICAGO. THE PITTSBURGH CREDENTIAL WAS FROM GAME 7 OF THE CANADIENS-PENGUINS 2010 PLAYOFF SERIES – MONTREAL WINNING THE LAST GAME AT OLD MELLON ARENA.

IN THE MID-1980’s, THE MAPLE LEAFS RECOGNIZED BEAT REPORTERS FACIALLY AND REQUIRED ONLY NAMES (ABOVE) ON SEASON PASSES. TYPICALLY, THE COVETED ITEMS WERE “SIGNED” BY IN-CHARGE-OF-EVERYTHING OWNER HAROLD BALLARD. THAT CHANGED IN THE LATE-80’s, AS EVIDENCED (BELOW) BY MY FIRST TWO CREDENTIALS AT THE RADIO STATION – THEN “AUTHORIZED” BY MEDIA RELATIONS DIRECTOR BOB STELLICK. MY HAIR-DRYER WAS WORKING MORE EFFICIENTLY THE SECOND YEAR.

MORE RECENTLY, PHOTOS WERE DONE AWAY WITH ONCE AGAIN.

THOSE TRAVELING REGULARLY ON THE HOCKEY BEAT ARE PROVIDED LEAGUE PASSES, WHICH ALLOW FOR ENTRY TO ARENAS FOR PRACTICES AND MORNING SKATES.

MY FIRST TWO CREDENTIALS AT THE RADIO STATION (ABOVE) FROM TORONTO BLUE JAYS AND OTHERS (BELOW) BEFORE I STARTED, FULL TIME, ON HOCKEY. OH, THE HAIR!

FOR BASEBALL ALL-STAR GAMES, PLAYOFFS AND WORLD SERIES, MEDIA BADGES (ABOVE) WERE NECESSARY FOR ADMISSION TO THE TEAM CLUBHOUSES.

HOCKEY

          

WHILE WRITING TEXT FOR MY FIRST BOOK (FRONT AND BACK COVERS, ABOVE) WITH PHOTOGRAPHER BRUCE BENNETT – WHO WILL BE IN THE HOCKEY HALL OF FAME ONE DAY – I TRAVELED AROUND DURING THE 1985 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS.

QUEBEC AT BUFFALO FROM THE OLD MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM.

          

BRUINS AND CANADIENS FIRST-ROUND MATCH-UP (LEFT) AT THE MONTREAL FORUM; OILERS AND JETS CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL (RIGHT) FROM THE OLD WINNIPEG ARENA.

MY FIRST STANLEY CUP FINAL: EDMONTON DEFEATED PHILADELPHIA IN FIVE GAMES TO WIN ITS SECOND OF FIVE CHAMPIONSHIPS. FLYERS PLAYED AT THE SPECTRUM. THE OILERS STILL PLAY IN WHAT WAS ORIGINALLY KNOWN AS NORTHLANDS COLISEUM.

MONTREAL FORUM CREDENTIALS FROM GAMES 3 AND 4 OF THE 1986 STANLEY CUP FINAL. CANADIENS DEFEATED CALGARY IN SIX.

FOR A MAGAZINE STORY, I TRAVELED TO CALIFORNIA IN OCTOBER 1986 AND ATTENDED A TRIO OF NHL EXHIBITION GAMES – MEDIA TICKET (ABOVE) FROM NEW YORK RANGERS vs. CALGARY FLAMES AT THE COW PALACE IN SAN FRANCISCO. FIVE YEARS LATER, THE OLD BARN IN DALY CITY WOULD BECOME ORIGINAL HOME OF THE SAN JOSE SHARKS.

TORONTO at SAN JOSE AFTERNOON GAME IN THE SHARKS’ INAUGURAL NHL SEASON.

MEDIA BADGE FOR 1987 NHL DRAFT AT JOE LOUIS ARENA IN DETROIT. PIERRE TURGEON (BUFFALO) AND BRENDAN SHANAHAN (NEW JERSEY) WERE TOP TWO PICKS.

FIRST AND SECOND STANLEY CUP FINALS I COVERED FOR THE RADIO STATION: CALGARY OVER MONTREAL IN 1989 – THE FLAMES LONE TITLE AND ONLY TIME A VISITING TEAM PARADED CUP IN THE FORUM. EDMONTON OVER BOSTON IN 1990 – THE LAST OILERS CHAMPIONSHIP AND ONLY ONE WITHOUT WAYNE GRETZKY.

          

FROM THE HARTFORD CIVIC CENTER: MAPLE LEAFS vs. WHALERS CREDENTIAL (LEFT), FEB. 10, 1990. I DID COLOR COMMENTARY WITH JOE BOWEN ON RADIO BROADCAST THAT NIGHT. AND THE 1994 NHL DRAFT (RIGHT), WHICH YIELDED MY BEST CAREER MOMENT – BREAKING LIVE, ON PRIME TIME SPORTS (WITH DAN SHULMAN AND JIM HUNT), THE TRADE THAT BROUGHT MATS SUNDIN FROM QUEBEC TO TORONTO.

          

MAPLE LEAFS at ST. LOUIS PLAYOFF CREDENTIAL (LEFT) OF APR. 27, 1996. LEAFS WERE ELIMINATED FROM OPENING ROUND BY THE BLUES THAT NIGHT. AND 1996 NHL DRAFT AT KIEL (NOW SCOTTRADE) CENTER. OTTAWA CHOSE FIRST, TAKING DEFENSEMAN CHRIS PHILIPS FROM PRINCE ALBERT OF THE WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE.

          

1992 NHL DRAFT (LEFT) – THE LAST ONE HELD AT MONTREAL FORUM AND BEST REMEMBERED FOR PHILADELPHIA FLYERS AND NEW YORK RANGERS TRADING WITH QUEBEC FOR THE RIGHTS TO ERIC LINDROS (FLYERS ULTIMATELY WON AN ARBITRATION RULING). MAPLE LEAFS at CANADIENS (RIGHT) FROM THE MOLSON (NOW BELL) CENTRE, APR. 17, 1999. THE FOLLOWING DAY, I TRAVELED FROM MONTREAL TO NEW YORK TO COVER WAYNE GRETZKY’S FINAL NHL GAME (BELOW).

THE MOST RECENT NHL DRAFT HELD IN MONTREAL (ABOVE) AND DECORATED NECK-STRAPS (BELOW). JOHN TAVARES WENT FIRST OVERALL TO THE NEW YORK ISLANDERS. IT WAS A SPECIAL MOMENT, AS I TOOK MY 12-YEAR-OLD SON, SHANE, WITH ME.

OTTAWA SENATORS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN KIND AND GENEROUS TO MY FAMILY, AS EVIDENCED BY THESE DUAL PRESS PASSES FOR GAME WITH THE LEAFS IN FEB. 2009.

          

MEDIA PASS (LEFT) FOR THE 1991 CANADA CUP. COVERED THE BEST-OF-THREE FINAL AT MONTREAL FORUM AND COPPS COLISEUM IN HAMILTON, AS CANADA SWEPT USA. AFTER COVERING THE 1991 BASEBALL WINTER MEETINGS IN MIAMI BEACH, I DROVE NORTH TO PALM BEACH, FLA. FOR NHL BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING (RIGHT).

IT WAS QUITE A PRIVILEGE TO COVER THE FINAL PLAYOFF SERIES AND GAME AT CHICAGO STADIUM IN 1994, AS MAPLE LEAFS TOOK OUT THE BLACKHAWKS IN SIX.

THAT SAME PLAYOFF YEAR, LEAFS MADE IT TO THE CAMPBELL CONFERENCE FINAL FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE SPRING AND MET VANCOUVER CANUCKS IN A 2-3-2 FORMAT. THE TEAMS PLAYED THREE GAMES IN FIVE NIGHTS AT OLD PACIFIC COLISEUM AND CANUCKS WON THE SERIES IN FIVE ON AN OVERTIME GOAL BY GREG ADAMS.

MEDIA CREDENTIAL (ABOVE) AND DRESSING ROOM PIN (BELOW) FOR 2000 NHL ALL-STAR GAME AT AIR CANADA CENTRE – THE FIRST SUCH EVENT IN TORONTO SINCE 1968.

LEAFS AND FLYERS MET IN A RAMBUNCTIOUS OPENING PLAYOFF ROUND IN 1999 – PAT QUINN’S FIRST SEASON AS COACH OF THE BLUE AND WHITE. THIS CREDENTIAL WAS USED FOR GAMES 3, 4 AND 6 IN PHILADELPHIA. LEAFS WON THE SERIES IN GAME 6 ON A POWERPLAY GOAL BY SERGEI BEREZIN WITH 58 SECONDS LEFT IN REGULATION TIME.

          

1998-99 WAS THE SABRES’ YEAR IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE – UNTIL GAME 6 OF THE STANLEY CUP FINAL AND THE INFAMOUS TRIPLE-OVERTIME, TOE-IN-THE-CREASE GOAL BY BRETT HULL THAT WON THE NHL CHAMPIONSHIP FOR DALLAS STARS. MY WORD, THAT WAS ONE LONG NIGHT (AND EARLY MORNING) IN BUFFALO.

I WORE THIS DRESSING ROOM BADGE IN DETROIT AND RALEIGH FOR ALL FIVE GAMES OF THE 2002 STANLEY CUP FINAL – RED WINGS BEATING CAROLINA HURRICANES TO GIVE SCOTTY BOWMAN HIS 11th AND LAST CHAMPIONSHIP AS COACH IN THE NHL.

MY PASS (ABOVE) FOR THE MAPLE LEAFS FIRST VISIT TO PHILADELPHIA’S NEW ARENA, ORIGINALLY CALLED THE CORESTATES (NOW WELLS FARGO) CENTER. AT THE FINAL HORN OF THIS SUNDAY-NIGHT GAME (NOV. 10, 1996), GOALIES FELIX POTVIN (TORONTO) AND RON HEXTALL (PHILADELPHIA) ENGAGED IN A WILD FIGHT THAT HAS GAINED INFAMY THROUGH THE YEARS. GOOGLE IT AND YOU’LL FIND IT ON YOU TUBE.

          

EARLY-SEASON GAME (LEFT) IN 2002-03 BETWEEN MAPLE LEAFS AND NEW YORK RANGERS. AFTER THE 9-11 TERRORIST ATTACKS, IT BECAME MANDATORY FOR REPORTERS ENTERING MADISON SQUARE GARDEN TO CARRY A PHOTO-PASS. NOT SURE WHO “HOWARD BEURGER” IS BUT I STILL GOT INTO GM PLACE (NOW ROGERS ARENA) FOR THIS 1998 MAPLE LEAFS-CANUCKS GAME IN VANCOUVER.

          

MAPLE LEAFS AND OTTAWA SENATORS MET FOUR TIMES IN FIVE PLAYOFF YEARS BEGINNING IN 2000 AND TORONTO WON ALL FOUR – THE INITIAL SERIES (TOP-LEFT) IN SIX GAMES. MY PASS (TOP-RIGHT) FROM MAPLE LEAFS FIRST VISIT TO THE AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER IN DALLAS (NOV. 8, 2002). TORONTO GOALIE ED BELFOUR RETURNED THAT NIGHT TO THE CITY IN WHICH HE WON THE 1999 STANLEY CUP.

          

IT WAS ALWAYS TOUGH MAKING A PAID VISIT TO FLORIDA IN MID-WINTER (SIGH) – THE ABOVE PASSES FROM A LEAFS TRIP TO SUNRISE AND TAMPA IN FEBRUARY 2009.

          

THE FAN-590 SENT ME ALL OVER HELL’S HALF-ACRE DURING THE 2009 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS, BEGINNING IN VANCOUVER (LEFT) FOR THE CANUCKS-ST. LOUIS OPENING-ROUND SERIES (MATS SUNDIN PLAYING FOR VANCOUVER). CAROLINA HURRICANES (RIGHT) MADE IT TO THE CUP SEMIFINALS BEFORE LOSING TO PITTSBURGH.

AFTER VANCOUVER, I WENT TO CALGARY FOR FLAMES AND CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS.

          

COVERED GAMES 1, 2 AND 7 OF THE CROSBY-OVECHKIN BATTLE (LEFT) – WON HANDILY BY PITTSBURGH, AT WASHINGTON, IN THE DECIDING MATCH. PENGUINS WENT ON TO KNOCK OFF CAROLINA IN EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL (RIGHT).

IN SEPTEMBER 2003, LEAFS BEGAN TRAINING CAMP IN SCANDINAVIA, PLAYING EXHIBITION GAMES, AT STOCKHOLM, AGAINST SWEDISH ELITE TEAMS DJURGARDEN AND FARJESTADS. LEAFS ALSO MADE A ONE-DAY JOURNEY TO FINLAND FOR A GAME, IN HELSINKI, AGAINST JOKERIT. IT WAS CALLED THE “NHL CHALLENGE” AND A GREAT EXPERIENCE TO COVER FOR THE FAN-590 (OR THE FAN-950, RIGHT).

          

PRIOR TO THE 2004 WORLD CUP OF HOCKEY, I COVERED TEAM CANADA’S ORIENTATION CAMP (TOP-LEFT) IN CALGARY, THEN TOURNAMENT GAMES IN COLUMBUS, QUEBEC CITY, MONTREAL AND TORONTO (TOP-RIGHT, BELOW). CANADA BEAT FINLAND FOR THE TITLE AMID A PALL, AS MOST UNDERSTOOD THE NHL WOULD SACRIFICE THE 2004-05 SEASON TO OBTAIN A SALARY CAP. THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.

          

LEAFS at BOSTON, DECEMBER 2003. LEAFS at DETROIT, OCTOBER 1998.

          

LEAFS at EDMONTON, MARCH 1996. LEAFS AT BUFFALO, JANUARY 2010.

          

WHILE ESTABLISHING THIS WEBSITE, I TRAVELED EXTENSIVELY DURING THE 2011-12 NHL SEASON, DOING FREELANCE WORK FOR THE NATIONAL POST. LEAFS at NEW YORK ISLANDERS (TOP-LEFT) JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS. AND LEAFS FIRST VISIT TO THE NEW WINNIPEG JETS, AT MCI CENTRE (RIGHT), ON NEW YEAR’S EVE.

IN THE PLAYOFFS, I COVERED ALL 20 LOS ANGELES KINGS GAMES EN ROUTE TO THE CLUB’S FIRST STANLEY CUP, DOING PART-TIME WORK FOR NHL HOME ICE ON SIRIUS-XM RADIO. KINGS PLAYED PHOENIX (ABOVE) IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL AND NEW JERSEY (BELOW) FOR THE LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP.

          

BRIAN BURKE, RANDY CARLYLE AND THE ANAHEIM DUCKS DEFEATED OTTAWA IN SIX GAMES TO WIN THE 2007 STANLEY CUP (TOP-LEFT). PATRICK KANE WENT FIRST OVERALL TO CHICAGO; JAMES van RIEMSDYK SECOND TO PHILADELPHIA IN THE 2007 NHL DRAFT (RIGHT) AT NATIONWIDE ARENA IN COLUMBUS.

THE LAST OF 21 NHL DRAFTS I COVERED FOR THE FAN-590 WAS 2010 AT STAPLES CENTER IN LOS ANGELES (PASS ABOVE; NECK STRAPS BELOW). TAYLOR HALL WENT FIRST OVERALL TO EDMONTON OILERS; TYLER SEGUIN NO. 2 TO BOSTON.

FOR THE 2011 NHL DRAFT IN ST. PAUL, MINN. (PASS TOP-LEFT; STRAPS BELOW) AND THE 2012 NHL ALL-STAR GAME IN OTTAWA (TOP-RIGHT), I WAS ON MY OWN.

MEDIA TICKETS FOR HOCKEY AT 2010 WINTER OLYMPICS IN VANCOUVER, INCLUDING THE TITLE GAME (FEB. 28) WHEN SIDNEY CROSBY SCORED HIS GOLDEN GOAL. 

BASEBALL

MY FIRST SPRING TRAINING AT THE RADIO STATION.

PIN FROM SKYDOME (NOW ROGERS CENTRE) OPENING CEREMONY: SAT. JUNE 3, 1989. BLUE JAYS LOST TO MILWAUKEE IN FIRST BALL-GAME TWO NIGHTS LATER.

AT THE 1991 BASEBALL WINTER MEETINGS IN MIAMI BEACH, I TRACKED RUMORS THAT THE BLUE JAYS WERE ABOUT TO SIGN JACK MORRIS AND DAVE WINFIELD. BOTH CAME ABOARD AFTERWARD AND PLAYED ON THE CLUB’S FIRST WORLD SERIES TEAM IN ’92.

ALL OF BASEBALL WAS GREEN WITH ENVY AFTER THE BLUE JAYS – BEGINNING (ABOVE) IN SPRING TRAINING AND ENDING AT FULTON-COUNTY STADIUM IN ATLANTA EIGHT MONTHS LATER – BECAME THE FIRST NON-AMERICAN TEAM TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES.

THIS BADGE GOT SOAKED WITH CHAMPAGNE IN THE BLUE JAYS CLUBHOUSE AFTER WORLD SERIES TRIUMPH IN ATLANTA. QUITE THE MEMORY OF OCT. 24-25, 1992.

          

BLUE JAYS ENCOUNTERED OAKLAND A’s IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES OF 1989 AND 1992 – LOSING THE FIRST AND WINNING THE SECOND. I WORE THESE BADGES IN THE CLUBHOUSES AT THE OAKLAND COLISEUM.

HAD A TERRIFIC TIME COVERING THE 1992 MAJOR LEAGUE ALL-STAR GAME IN BEAUTIFUL SAN DIEGO (CREDENTIAL ABOVE; CLUBHOUSE BADGE AND COMMEMORATIVE PIN BELOW). THE GAME WAS PLAYED AT QUALCOMM STADIUM – HOME, IN ’92, OF THE SAN DIEGO PADRES, WHO MOVED DOWNTOWN TO PETCO PARK IN 2004. THE NFL’s SAN DIEGO CHARGERS STILL PLAY AT QUALCOMM.

A PALL HUNG OVER THE 1994 ALL-STAR GAME IN PITTSBURGH (CREDENTIAL ABOVE; CLUBHOUSE BADGE BELOW), AS AN OWNERS’ LOCKOUT LOOMED. IT BEGAN A MONTH LATER AND LED TO CANCELLATION – FOR THE FIRST AND ONLY TIME – OF THE PLAYOFFS AND WORLD SERIES. THIS WAS THE FINAL ALL-STAR GAME PLAYED AT THREE RIVERS STADIUM. PITTSBURGH PIRATES MOVED TO PNC PARK IN 2001.

DOWN THE STRETCH OF THE 1992 SEASON, I WENT TO BALTIMORE TO COVER A BLUE JAYS-ORIOLES SERIES AT THE NEW CAMDEN YARDS. IT WAS A DIFFICULT TRIP, AS MY MATERNAL GRANDFATHER – AL ROBINS – DIED DURING THE SERIES OPENER, SEP. 22.

COMMEMORATIVE PIN FROM THE BLUE JAYS 1992 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.

I WENT TO NEW YORK FOR THE NOV. 17, 1992 MAJOR LEAGUE EXPANSION DRAFT TO STOCK THE INCOMING FLORIDA MARLINS AND COLORADO ROCKIES.

I SPENT A NIGHT AT THE 2001 NHL DRAFT IN FLORIDA AT PRO PLAYER STADIUM FOR A BALL-GAME BETWEEN THE MARLINS AND PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES. NOW THE MIAMI MARLINS, THE TEAM PLAYS AT MARLINS PARK (OPENED IN 2012), BUILT ON SITE OF THE OLD ORANGE BOWL STADIUM, HOME OF THE NFL DOLPHINS FROM 1966 TO 1986.

FOOTBALL

GREY CUP CREDENTIALS

1985 AT OLYMPIC STADIUM IN MONTREAL: B.C. OVER HAMILTON, 37-24.

1986 AT B.C. PLACE IN VANCOUVER: HAMILTON OVER EDMONTON, 39-15.

1988 AT LANSDOWNE PARK IN OTTAWA: WINNIPEG OVER B.C., 22-21.

1989 AT SKYDOME IN TORONTO: SASKATCHEWAN OVER HAMILTON, 43-40.

          

1991 AT WINNIPEG STADIUM: TORONTO OVER CALGARY, 36-21.

          

1992 AT SKYDOME IN TORONTO: CALGARY OVER WINNIPEG, 24-10.

1994 AT B.C. PLACE IN VANCOUVER: B.C. OVER BALTIMORE, 26-23.

1996 AT IVOR WYNNE STADIUM IN HAMILTON: TORONTO OVER EDMONTON, 43-37.

TORONTO ARGONAUTS SEASON PASSES AT SKYDOME (NOW ROGERS CENTRE).

ARGONAUTS SEASON PASS FOR 1996 AT SKYDOME. THE ’96 CLUB WAS ARGUABLY SECOND-BEST IN FRANCHISE HISTORY – COACH DON MATTHEWS AND NON-PERIL QUARTERBACK DOUG FLUTIE ENGINEERING A 15-3 RECORD AND GREY CUP TRIUMPH IN A MAJOR SNOW-STORM AT HAMILTON OVER THE EDMONTON ESKIMOS. ONLY THE ’97 ARGOS – ALSO AT 15-3 AND GREY CUP CHAMPION, BUT WITH A BETTER POINTS FOR/POINTS AGAINST RATIO – WERE SUPERIOR.

ESKIMOS-BLUE BOMBERS EXHIBITION GAME CREDENTIAL AT WINNIPEG STADIUM IN 1986. I WAS THERE FOR A MAGAZINE STORY.

BEFORE TURNING TO HOCKEY, FULL-TIME, I COVERED MANY OF THE BUFFALO BILLS HOME GAMES. THIS GAME BEGAN THE 1990’s – THE CLUB’S MOST SUCCESSFUL DECADE SINCE THE NFL-AFL MERGER 20 YEARS EARLIER. BILLS MADE IT TO FOUR CONSECUTIVE SUPER BOWLS (1990-91-92-93) BUT COULD NOT PREVAIL IN ANY OF THEM. 

BILLS WON THE AFC CHAMPIONSHIP AT HOME IN 1991 (51-3 OVER LOS ANGELES RAIDERS) AND 1994 (30-13 OVER JOE MONTANA AND THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS).

WHILE IN LOS ANGELES OVER THE 1994 CHRISTMAS BREAK, I WAS INVITED TO THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS’ REGULAR SEASON FINALE (vs. PITTSBURGH) BY THE CLUB’S PLAY-BY-PLAY VOICE, LEE HAMILTON. I WATCHED THE GAME – ON A BEAUTIFUL, SUNNY AFTERNOON – FROM THE BROADCAST BOOTH AT WHAT IS NOW QUALCOMM STADIUM.

OTHER STUFF

WHILE FREELANCING FOR TORONTO STAR IN THE SUMMER OF 1986, I COVERED GOLF, TENNIS (ABOVE) AND SQUASH (BELOW). GREAT PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE.

AMERICAN KEN GREEN WON CANADA’S INTERNATIONAL GOLF TOURNAMENT AT GLENN ABBEY IN OAKVILLE, ONT. (ABOVE) DURING MY FIRST MONTHS AT RADIO STATION.

UNTIL 1994, TORONTO HAD TWO RACE TRACKS: WOODBINE (WHICH STILL EXISTS AND IS HOME TO THE ANNUAL QUEEN’S PLATE) AND GREENWOOD (1989 PASS ABOVE) AT THE FOOT OF WOODBINE AVE. AND LAKE ONTARIO. IT WAS USED PRIMARILY FOR STANDARDBRED (OR HARNESS) RACING IN THE WINTER MONTHS.

MY FIRST MAJOR ASSIGNMENT FOR THE RADIO STATION WAS THE 96th SESSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE IN TOKYO, SEP. 13-18, 1990 (CREDENTIAL ABOVE). TORONTO WAS AMONG A HALF-DOZEN CITIES BIDDING FOR THE 1996 SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES. THE IOC ULTIMATELY CHOSE ATLANTA.

THERE’S A NEAT STORY BEHIND THE ABOVE SWIMMING EVENT I COVERED AT THE 1996 ATLANTA OLYMPICS – THE ONLY SUMMER GAMES I WORKED FOR THE FAN-590. U.S. PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON WAS AT THE AQUATIC CENTER THAT NIGHT AMID THE USUAL SECURITY. AFTER SENDING A STORY TO THE RADIO STATION, I WALKED OUT OF THE MEDIA TENT INTO AN OPEN COURTYARD, WHEREUPON CLINTON CAME TOWARD ME, SURROUNDED BY FOUR SECRET SERVICE MEN. I FIGURED IT WOULD BE MY ONLY CHANCE TO GREET AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT. AS HE GOT CLOSE, I PUT OUT MY HAND TO SHAKE HIS, ONLY TO HAVE IT RUDELY SLAPPED DOWN BY A SECRET SERVICE MAN. “SORRY,” CLINTON SAID, LOOKING BACK AT ME WITH A SHRUG AND A SMILE.

CREDENTIAL (ABOVE) FROM THE 1994 WORLD BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS AT SKYDOME – ONE YEAR BEFORE THE NBA TORONTO RAPTORS BEGAN PLAY.

I WORKED THREE TIMES AS PIT REPORTER ON OUR RADIO BROADCAST OF THE MOLSON INDY CAR RACE – HELD ON THE CANADIAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION GROUNDS: 1991, 1992 AND 1997 (THE LATTER TWO CREDENTIALS HERE). TALK ABOUT NOISE!

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