June 15, 2012

Canada's link to the Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup this week, and that made me think how Timmins, my home town in Northern Ontario, played a key role in making that happen.

This summer, Timmins is celebrating the centennial of its “founding” as a more or less permanent gold mining camp. To mark the occasion, a local weekly newspaper conducted a poll asking the question: Who is the most notable person ever from Timmins?

Not surprisingly, country-music superstar Shania Twain topped the list by a long shot. No surprise either that a pair of hockey stars from different eras — Steve Sullivan, currently with Pittsburgh, and Frank Mahovlich, a legend in Toronto, Detroit and Montreal — should make the list. (A local Croatian Catholic church has installed stained-glass windows in tribute to Frank and brother Peter, also a hockey star).

What is surprising is that after all these years, the poll flushed out an enduring collective memory of one Jack Kent Cooke, the man who brought the National Hockey League to Los Angeles. Even though it’s been more than 60 years since Cooke, who died in 1997 at age 84, set foot in Timmins, his passage in the town was such a turning point for the business world that folks back home still remember him.

The signal moment in Cooke’s amazing rise in the media, sports and entertainment worlds came in 1936, when he was a hustling young toiletries-product salesman in the wilds of Northern Ontario, traveling from one Depression-stricken town to another, his pregnant wife, Jean, in tow. Harboring an interest in the then-budding business of radio, he decided to pay a visit to another man who would become a global media titan.

Cooke drove to Timmins to meet Roy Thomson, who by then had acquired a few radio stations and newspapers in Northern Ontario. As legend has it, Cooke so impressed Thomson with his energy, charm and salesmanship that the elder businessman agreed to hire him to run one of his struggling radio stations in southern Ontario. Thus began a partnership that would strengthen and expand on the basis of a Timmins-centred radio and newspaper enterprise.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time