BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW
A light sweat covered my skin, my heart raced with anticipation and butterflies filled my stomach as I approached one of my all-time heroes Don Cherry to shake his hand.
This scene represented the pinnacle of my young journalism career. It happened July 18 at the grand opening of the Bobby Orr museum in Parry Sound.
On this glorious day I had the chance to interview and talk hockey with Cherry and a few of my other heroes, Ron MacLean, Bobby Orr and Steve Dryden.
Even days after the event, my head is still swamped with joy and fulfillment. It was truly a dream come true.
Meeting Cherry meant the most to me. I grew up in the Sudbury region watching ?Grapes? every Saturday night on Hockey Night In Canada and every time he was on in the playoffs. It was, in fact, my religion.
To shake hands with a genuine Canadian icon and have my picture taken with him was the highlight of my career, and I know it will be extremely hard to top.
The best thing about Cherry was the fact he was keen on talking to a good old Northern Ontario boy for about 12 minutes. A moment that made a massive impact on my life. I?ve watched ?Grapes? for 20 years and own almost all of his Rock ?em, Sock ?em videos.
During my time with Cherry I thought my heart was going to explode. I was really nervous, but Cherry made me feel like an old friend, putting his arm around me and sharing a neat story about my roommate?s dad, with whom he used to play hockey with.
Meeting MacLean was an obvious treat. I?ve watched him as long as I?ve watched Cherry and always enjoyed MacLean?s sharp. dry humour.
Having the chance to meet Orr was special because my dad is a huge fan of Orr. Dad and I always have arguments about who was the greatest player of all time, Orr or Wayne Gretzky?
Orr pulled me into a corner and gave me about five minutes of the most humbling words I have ever heard. He is true class and it was a honour to meet him.
Meeting Steve Dryden, former editor-in-chief of the Hockey News, renowned hockey author and hockey expert with The Sports Network (TSN) was a rare treat.
People who know me, know I am a big fan of the Hockey News. I have every issue since 1988 and yes, I still read them. I store most of them at my mom?s house and she has tried on occasion over the years to pitch them into the garbage, but I have convinced her they still hold value in my heart.
I talked hockey and sports journalism with Dryden for about 15 minutes. We even talked about former Northern Life reporter Ken Campbell, who wrote my all-time favourite hockey article in Inside Hockey, a former
publication of the Hockey News. Talking to Dryden was monumental for an aspiring sports journalist.
Writing sports is more than just a job, it?s an adventure for a lifetime.