Sports Hall of Fame tears Page out of B.C. show’s iconic past

Vancouver Sun - - SPORTS - STEVE EWEN Sewen@postmedia.com Twit­ter.com/SteveEwen

It’s time again for Sports Page trivia, ladies and gen­tle­man.

The ques­tion: Even though the TV pro­gram — which neatly meshed highlights of the pros with fea­ture sto­ries on am­a­teur sports around the Lower Main­land for 28 years — has been off the air since 2005, how of­ten does former host Don Tay­lor still get asked about it?

The an­swer: On a daily ba­sis.

Our win­ner is Tay­lor him­self and his prize is a chance to help us all re­mem­ber the so-called glory days. He’s one of sev­eral Sports Page alums still preva­lent in lo­cal sports me­dia.

“It’s prob­a­bly ev­ery day and most of it is peo­ple say­ing that we need to bring it back in some way,” said Tay­lor, who is best known now for host­ing TSN 1040’s noon to 3 p.m. week­day show along­side Bob Mar­janovich.

“I feel the same way. I’m wor­ried about kids know­ing more about the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs than the Van­cou­ver Canucks, B.C. Li­ons and Van­cou­ver White­caps.

“I do feel hyp­o­crit­i­cal about that at times. I do feel that we could do even more lo­cal stuff on our show. It mat­ters to me. I miss Sports Page. I’d want it back. I want Van­cou­ver sports to feel even more im­por­tant.”

The show is still pop­u­lar enough that this Satur­day the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame is open­ing Sports Page: The Ex­hibit. It’s a salute to the 40th an­niver­sary of the pro­gram’s de­but.

Ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease from the hall, it will fea­ture “dozens of dif­fer­ent com­po­nents, in­clud­ing a re-cre­ation of a Sports Page an­chor desk, in­ter­ac­tive trivia games, items of mem­o­ra­bilia, in­side sto­ries and anec­dotes.”

“To have it rec­og­nized is in­cred­i­ble,” said Tay­lor. “Every­body I’ve talked to at the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame has said, ‘Hey, we watched it ev­ery night.’

“This is a re­ally nice thing to have hap­pen. If I’ve had any suc­cess in this business, it’s be­cause of Sports Page.”

It’s star­tling to think about the tal­ent that ran through that show over the years. Canucks tele­vi­sion play-by-play man John Short­house was there. So was Dan Mur­phy, the host for Canucks TV broad­casts. Blake Price of TSN 1040 did a stint. And Scott Rin­toul of Sport­snet 650. And Rin­toul’s boss, Sport­snet 650 pro­gram di­rec­tor Craig MacEwen.

There were oth­ers. Barry Mac­don­ald, Dave Ran­dorf, Chris Hebb. You can list them for days. Short­house says “on a much lesser scale, from a re­gional stand­point,” that be­ing a young sports­caster in Van­cou­ver and get­ting a job from Sports Page boss Paul Carson was akin to be­ing a young comic and get­ting tabbed by Lorne Michaels for a gig on Satur­day Night Live. It’s dif­fi­cult to ar­gue with him.

Think about it. The show has been off the air for more than a decade and ev­ery Christ­mas there are peo­ple on so­cial me­dia go­ing on about how much they miss Yulin’ with the Page, the quirky high­light show that had spe­cial guest ap­pear­ances by lo­cal sports stars.

“There was a real cache to be­ing able to say, ‘I work for Sports Page,’” said Short­house. “It was ap­point­ment view­ing in Van­cou­ver and Bri­tish Columbia for a time.”

Mur­phy added: “It showed me this line of work could be a blast. It was the most fun I’ve ever had go­ing to work. Tay­lor and BMac made ev­ery­one feel like they were on the same level with them. They were so in­clu­sive. They wanted you to feel a part of the team.”

Short­house, for one, thinks the Page “has run its course” be­cause of so­cial me­dia and 24-hour sports chan­nels. He doesn’t think any­one would wait un­til 11 p.m. for highlights, like they did dur­ing the show’s hey­day. Even Tay­lor ad­mit­ted “we all talk a good show, but I’m not sure if it could work again.”

No mat­ter. It’s fun to pon­der the pos­si­bil­i­ties. And it’s cer­tainly en­joy­able to rem­i­nisce, which is some­thing the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame is aid­ing in.

“It was a show that ev­ery lo­cal sports fan wanted to work on and one where you would tell ev­ery­one you worked on once you got there,” said Rin­toul. “The Page set a phe­nom­e­nal stan­dard of pri­or­i­tiz­ing Van­cou­ver and B.C. view­ers and de­liv­er­ing the sto­ries they cared about in a fun and en­ter­tain­ing man­ner.

“We were as proud of the trivia ques­tions as we were of the unique sto­ries we pre­sented. We were all so pas­sion­ate about up­hold­ing the stan­dard and we never lost sight of what a priv­i­lege it was to be part of an in­cred­i­ble legacy.”

GERRY KAHRMANN

Canucks play-by-play man John Short­house, a Sports Page alum­nus, said there used to be “real cache” to work­ing for the show.

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