Calgary Herald

Hall breaks new barrier in CFL HOF media wing


Vicki Hall is grateful to be the one breaking a barrier for women.

The longtime Postmedia columnist is now nationally enshrined, becoming the first woman inducted into the media wing of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

The honour bestowed on the Calgarian follows a poignant 16-year tenure covering the CFL for the Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald.

“It was a huge shock for me, because you never think of yourself landing in the Hall of Fame,” said Hall, 50. “But it's also a huge honour in terms of the number of women who came before me.

“It's kind of shocking that I'm the first woman that's going in. But I know I'm not going to be the last, and I know it won't take very long for me to have company.”

Hall has embraced her call to the hall with an introspect­ive take, given her own challenges in recent months.

A sudden health scare threw her life in turmoil a few months back.

“It makes me appreciate all the times that players get injured and can't play in the big game — like the Grey Cup — or when athletes train their whole lives for the Olympics and they miss it,” Hall said. “But I've been playing a much bigger game in some ways.”

Hall had surgery last Tuesday at Foothills Medical Centre, so she could not fly to Hamilton for Sunday's Hall of Fame induction ceremony, instead attending virtually but nonetheles­s in superb spirit. It also featured salutes to fellow media inductees Jon Hynes, a legendary TSN producer, and the late Chris Schultz, a longtime TSN broadcaste­r.

“We all live knowing we might receive a test result or a call from a doctor that could change our lives,” Hall said. “And on Sept. 29, I had a routine test, and all of a sudden, everything was turned upside down. It's been really scary.

“But what's happened from that is it's given me this chance to look at things differentl­y. And I look back at my time covering the CFL as more like this collection of moments — and I'm grateful for all of it. I'm grateful for the big stories that I covered.”

The 2009 Grey Cup and deadline pressures are among those stories.

“The 13th-man Grey Cup always stands in my mind, being in the dressing room after the game and watching the Saskatchew­an Roughrider­s players vomit and cry and in shock and screaming,” Hall said. “I remember Milt Stegall scoring a 100-yard touchdown on the final play of the game in 2006 (over the host Edmonton Eskimos), and I had to rewrite my whole story in five minutes because Winnipeg had suddenly won. I wasn't very happy that night.”

The highlights — and memories — are endless.

In 2008, after 10 years with the Edmonton Journal, Hall headed south to take on a sports reporting gig with the Calgary Herald, staying aboard until 2017 when she left Postmedia primarily to focus on the needs of her young son, A.J., who is on the autism spectrum.

These days, Hall is teaching journalism at SAIT in Calgary, describing herself as being “in more of a coaching role than a playing role.”

But there's still been room for sportswrit­ing, having contribute­d to the CBC on a regular basis and continuing to write freelance stories for The Canadian Press and the CFL'S website.

Part of the plan ahead is to help cover the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris for Olympic Informatio­n Service.

“When I left the business, I thought I was leaving it, but it's never left me,” added Hall. “And I'm really grateful for that.”

 ?? ?? Vicki Hall
Vicki Hall

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