Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Being hip-deep in hoops coverage means being late to acknowledge the death of J.I. Albrecht, the legendary CFL personnel man.

He gave Marv Levy a chance to coach a pro team with the original Alouettes in the '70s, he gave Pinball Clemons the chance to be the first black head coach in the CFL and he almost brought a team to Halifax.

The one, the only Earl McRae was not only the first writer who took the time to visit with Albrecht when it was clear his time was running out, but he was probably the only one to whom Albrecht revealed his real name. That column from June 2, 2007 is now up for an Ontario Newspaper Award; re-reading it still brings chill bumps.

This isn't how a legend should end (Earl McRae, Ottawa Sun, June 2, 2007)
CFL legend J.I. Albrecht passes away (Dave Gross, Canwest News Service)


Dennis Prouse said...

You know, it's great sport in Ottawa to dump all over Earl, and it is clear that his game has slipped in recent years. Having said that, the column in question on Albrecht was an outstanding piece of journalism, as was Earl's column in the last day or so about broadcasters and homerism. When he puts his mind to it, he is a great old school journalist in the best sense of the phrase.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

That's a great piece by McRae. Hopefully Albrecht will get the place in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame he deserves.

sager said...

Hey, if there was a Mt. Rushmore of Canadian sports writers, who would it be? Brunt, McRae, Milt Dunnell and Red Fisher?

(OK, some of you West Coasters would argue for Jim Coleman.)

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Interesting idea, and your suggested four are pretty good. Personally, I'd have Brunt and Dunnell as locks, and the other two would be a bit tougher to decide on. Coleman and Fisher would certainly be in the mix in my mind, as well as Trent Frayne and Scott Young. I haven't seen enough of McRae's stuff to argue for his inclusion there. There's a lot of Canadian sportswriters I like though, so it's a tough call to make in my mind. There's other good ones who are still active and could earn there way onto the heights.

sager said...

How about a gag space? "Reserved for Marty York."