UPDATE FROM KEN DANIELS: This blog was written with a heavy heart on Thursday. Today (Saturday), Ken passed along these remarks from Detroit:
“The hockey world has been an incredible, extended family for us [during] these past few days that have been a nightmare. I can’t thank everyone enough for having reached out to me and my family in this most difficult time. Jamie loved life more than anyone I’ve ever met. We will carry his vibrant personality with us forever. It will be a different life from here on in, but your wishes are helping get us through. With all our love, the Daniels family.”
TORONTO (Dec. 8) — Just a quick word tonight through tears and a shattered heart…
My friend and colleague of more than 30 years — Detroit Red Wings TV voice Ken Daniels — lost his 23–year–old son, Jamie, this morning. Jamie died in his sleep. I have no other details.
PHOTOS I TOOK OF KEN DANIELS IN THE AIR CANADA CENTRE PRESS BOX WHEN THE RED WINGS WERE IN TOWN A FEW YEARS AGO TO PLAY THE LEAFS. THAT’S JAMIE OVER KEN’S SHOULDER.
Ken and I have been friends since the mid–1980’s. And, I owe him a lot. It was through Ken’s close affiliation with Allan Davis that I received my break in the radio business. Back in early–1988. Ken set up a meeting with Allan, who somehow saw potential in a 29–year–old sports fanatic without an hour’s worth of experience on the air. Allan allowed me to put together intermission features on Toronto Maple Leafs broadcasts in the 1987–88 season. Then, he hired me as a part–time gopher/reporter in May 1988. With that break, I was able to cover the Toronto Blue Jays through their World Series ascent in the early–90’s; and then, beginning in 1994, follow the Toronto Maple Leafs at home and on the road for 17 seasons.
Allan took a chance on me.
Without Ken, there would have been no introduction to Allan, who is currently program director at WGR–550, the all–sports radio station in Buffalo. Voice of the Sabres and Bills. Ken and I worked together at The FAN–590 from 1988 to 1997, when he left to become TV play–caller in Detroit. He is salt–of–the–earth.
How do you go on in life when you’ve lost a child?
Jamie Daniels died two mornings after my son’s 20th birthday.
I cannot comprehend.
Jamie will be laid to rest on Sunday afternoon in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. For those in the Detroit area, here is the funeral and shiva information: http://www.irakaufman.com/.
May God be with Ken and Jamie’s mother, Lisa.
HAPPIER TIMES (ABOVE AND BELOW): ME, KEN AND ALLAN DAVIS, IN BUFFALO. JANUARY 2015.