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Former Hockey Night in Canada producer Bob Gordon passed away in the past few days. I never had a chance to meet Mr. Gordon in-person, but I did have a special telephone conversation with him that I will never forget....
It was the fall of 2003 and TVCogeco had just started its Peterborough Petes coverage. I was do the pre-game/intermission/post-game hosting (I added colour commentary the following year). A month or two into the season, I get a message from the Petes that someone had been calling there trying to track me down, and left a name and number for me to call. The name was Bob Gordon. I'll be honest, I did not know who "Bob Gordon" was at the time, especially considering much of his work at HNIC was done before I was in the broadcasting business. For example, He was producing the show when Roger Neilson was fired and un-fired by Harold Ballard.
But I made the phone call, and he introduced himself, and said the reason he was trying to track me down is that he wanted to compliment me on my work. He lived in Peterborough and saw the games and liked what he saw during the Petes broadcasts. From there, we just chatted about the industry, the people, and he gave me some advice. He also had many questions about how the TVCogeco Petes broadcast was put together behind-the-scenes. If you looked at the clock, it was a very long conversation, but trust me, the time flew by. I could have chatted with him for many more hours.
He invited me to keep in touch, and if I ever wanted him to take a peek at any tapes, or even put in a good word with any of his former colleagues who are now working in Toronto and many other big markets, he would. My only regret is that I did not keep in-touch with him more. That said, I've always kept with me things that were discussed during that phone conversation. I was also very impressed that he would go out of his way to contact me.
I found this note from today's Toronto Star sports media column by Chris Zelkovich:
Hockey Night In Canada pioneer Bob Gordon, who died this week, will be remembered as one of the best in the business. "He was a better person than he was a producer and he was a heck of a producer," said NHL broadcast vice-president John Shannon, who was hired by Gordon for CBC. "He didn't get the credit that was due to him."
I think that says it all. Rest in peace Mr. Gordon.
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