Tales of an old hockey writer


Randy Russon
By
February 5, 2021

It has been a few years in the making.

And now, my book, Tales Of An Old Hockey Writer, is slated to be published and ready for release at some point in 2021.

The book will date back to the mid 1970s when I first became a paid member of the media after a mediocre departure from Sault College where I really liked English classes with Neil Carter and learned a few things in Broadcast Journalism from Tom Iley.

To be sure, my career as a journalist remains a work — and adventure — in progress.

It is something that I aspired to do from when I was in elementary school at both Holy Angel and St. Mark and remained a future goal of mine while I was in high school at Sir James Dunn, where English classes were the focus of my attention and Mathematics and Chemistry subjects were better made for skipping.

At any rate, I was happy to be done — though Never Dunn — with school and was towards the end of a worthwhile gig as a waiter and bartender at the venerable Windsor Hotel when I got my first media job in the fall of 1975.

It was doing the weekend sports at radio station CKCY. And it consisted of three sportscasts on Saturday (7:45 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 5:05 p.m.) and two more on Sunday (12:15 p.m. and 5:05 p.m.)

I got paid $3 per sportscast so, for the tidy sum of $15 a weekend, I was officially a member of the veteran-laden Sault Ste. Marie media. The money didn’t matter, as I kept my union job at the Windsor Hotel, which paid $3.39 an hour plus tips — and other opportunities for income. (The source of extra income shall remain a story for another day, provided that I receive assurances from my lawyer son that the statute of limitations has expired.)

Anyway, it was 1975 and I was in the local media and I had no idea of the adventures, trials and tribulations that would lie ahead in the form of hockey games, interviews, stories and many, many, many nights (and some mornings and afternoons) of drinking beer and inhaling smoke from cigarettes and um, you know, good weed.

Besides doing the weekend sports at CKCY (for the aforementioned sum of $15), I got extra pay to, on occasion, cover high school sports and Greyhound hockey games for that magical sum of $3 per assignment.

Yes, that 1975-1976 sports season was where it began for me — and where the many stories made their way into my memory bank, with the highlights being covering the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.

In fact, the 1975-1976 season — with stories from both on and off the ice — will take up a few thousands words in Chapter 1 of Tales Of An Old Hockey Writer.

That 1975-1976 season also led me, on occasion, to Blind River to be a part of Beavers hockey broadcasts with play by play man Paul Leonard Sr. on radio station CJNR.

CJNR in Blind River was an affiliate station of CKCY in the Sault under the same ownership of a fine gentleman by the name of Carmen Greco.

At any rate, it was my boss, the aforementioned Paul Leonard Sr. — he was the sports director at CKCY in the Sault in addition to being the Blind River hockey play by play man for CJNR — who would provide some early career eye openers for me.

In fact, it began with Mr. Leonard first hiring me to work at CKCY over a tray of 20 cent draught beer at the Algoma Hotel, which was located across from the radio station and adjacent to Sault Memorial Gardens on the corner of Queen and Bruce streets.

And it was from Mr. Leonard that I learned that it was not only possible to do a Beavers hockey game broadcast on a Saturday night after three or four hours of afternoon beers at the Lincoln Hotel in Blind River — but somewhat of a requirement for the job.

The adventures would continue for me in the media industry, mainly in the junior hockey world.

In fact, I still work as a hockey writer and host of a hockey radio show while selling a bit of advertising on the side, which is a “performance art” that I learned over the years from observing the venerable likes of Paul Leonard Sr., Harry Wolfe, Wayne Turner, Jerry Nichols, Jim Kinkaid, Jerry Penny, Barry Muncaster, Dick Peplow and Jim Alton, just to name a few. (Um, and when it comes to advertising sales, I have learned two things from the aforementioned gentlemen — what to do and what not to do.)

Let me say that it has been a good run for me of 45-plus years as a writer and broadcaster– and hopefully many more to come.

And through being blessed with a good memory and living through so many experiences, the work in progress that is Tales Of An Old Hockey Writer will be, as previously mentioned, published this year, God willing.

Oh, by the way, while a good part of what I am hoping is a good book will deal with good times and good people, there will also be references to some of the bad actors and unscrupulous people that I have encountered along the way.

Meantime, the stories continue to be written — and filed away.


What you think about “Tales of an old hockey writer”

  1. Looking forward to your long awaited book Randy. Is it going to be a no holds barred type of memoir? Lol

  2. Looking forward to reading this! I’m sure you have some great stories to share. Hoping to be able to purchase this from the Michigan side in some way..

  3. 1st it was “The Old Man and the Sea” now coming soon to a home near you “The Old Man and the Rink” !!! Look forward to it Randy

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