Paul Wiecek

Paul Wiecek

Reporter (retired)

Paul Wiecek was born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End and delivered the Free Press — 53 papers, Machray Avenue, between Main and Salter Streets — long before he was first hired as a Free Press reporter in 1989.

A graduate of St. Paul’s High School and Carleton University in Ottawa, Paul covered the police beat for seven years before he was named the paper’s investigative reporter in 1996. He moved over to sports in 1998, where he has worked ever since.

Along the way, Paul has covered two World Series, two Winter Olympics, five Grey Cups, an NBA Finals, a Queen’s Plate, a Belmont Stakes, 15 Briers, 14 Scotties, at least a dozen world curling championships and was in the house the night former Detroit Tigers catcher Matt Nokes attacked Winnipeg Goldeyes mascot Goldie and pinned him (her?) to the wall.

Paul travelled on assignment for the Free Press to Iraq, Jordan, Mexico, Sweden, Switzerland (twice), Italy (three times), Scotland and to all 10 provinces and one territory in Canada and at least half the states in the U.S.

He’s been a finalist for Michener and National Newspaper Awards and is a five-time winner of the Sovereign Award, which is awarded annually for the best journalism about Canadian horse racing. He’s also the 1998 winner of the Gil Amoroso Media Award, which is awarded annually by the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association for the best investigative journalism in North America about the biker trade. And finally, he’s a two-time winner of the Scotty Harper Media Award, awarded annually by the Canadian Curling Association for the best story in Canada about the sport of curling.

Paul lives in the West End and is a father of two.  He retired from the Free Press in 2018.

Recent articles of Paul Wiecek

Pop goes the sports bubble?

Paul Wiecek 12 minute read Preview

Pop goes the sports bubble?

Paul Wiecek 12 minute read Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

Quick — what has been the single-best performing asset class of the last two decades?

Stocks? It’s been a great run, for sure. But no. Real estate? Ditto. Bonds, commodities, money markets? No, no and no.

The most consistent-performing asset class for the last 20 years has been the rarest one of all — owning a pro sports franchise.

Owners in three of the four major professional sports leagues in North America — the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball — have all achieved double-digit compound annualized growth rates since 2000.

Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

A customer makes a sports bet at the Race & Sports SuperBook in Las Vegas. Many see the eventual expansion of legal sports betting as a given. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by David Becker

Pandemic the pin that perhaps bursts sports bubble

Paul Wiecek and Steve Lyons 15 minute read Preview

Pandemic the pin that perhaps bursts sports bubble

Paul Wiecek and Steve Lyons 15 minute read Thursday, Jun. 4, 2020

Steve Lyons: Hey there. How have you been? Last time we chatted like this, you had just returned from a winter vacation in Bonaire and there was some sort of scare on the plane you were one. Whatever happened to that whole virus thing? haha

You were always a pioneer in self-isolating, but how have you been keeping up there in Gimli during the pandemic?

Paul Wiecek: You know I’ve actually been feeling guilty about how little this pandemic has actually affected me personally.

I’ve always preferred the company of dogs to the company of people anyway, so all the isolation that has been so difficult for so many people hasn’t been an issue for me at all.

Thursday, Jun. 4, 2020

Jets working hard to have Winnipeg wear white

Paul Wiecek and Steve Lyons 14 minute read Preview

Jets working hard to have Winnipeg wear white

Paul Wiecek and Steve Lyons 14 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 4, 2020

Say What?! is an email conversation between sports editor Steve Lyons and retired sports columnist Paul Wiecek. Look for us regularly — but intermittently — on the Free Press website.

 

Steve Lyons: Hello there. Welcome home. I believe you just got back from vacay on Tuesday, right? I’m still confused by the idea that you’re on holidays when you’re retired — perhaps its just a trip?

It’s been a bit since we chatted about sports. The last time we did this, we did a special travel edition of Say What. Afterwards, a few people advised us to stick to sports. That’s a compliment perhaps haha.. several others enjoyed our adventure stories. I’m not sure I’m an expert on either, despite 33 years at this gig.

Wednesday, Mar. 4, 2020

Say What?! Sports guys travel to new destination

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 15 minute read Preview

Say What?! Sports guys travel to new destination

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 15 minute read Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020

Say What?! is an email conversation between sports editor Steve Lyons and sports columnist Paul Wiecek. Look for us regularly but intermittently on the Free Press website.

 

Steve Lyons: Heya. How you doing? How’s 2020 treating you so far?

Few things to get us started:

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020

Bigger story: Jets’ playoff run or Bombers’ Cup victory?

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 17 minute read Preview

Bigger story: Jets’ playoff run or Bombers’ Cup victory?

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 17 minute read Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019

Steve Lyons: Hello there. How’s it going? Hope you are staying warm. Guess winter is here now. Man, it’s been nice so far — especially, the lack of snow. Thought we were in for a long one after that dump of white stuff in October. I bought a new shovel on the weekend just in case. I’m sure it will show up at some point. Yes, I’ve been doing my own shoveling.

So, lots going on since we last chatted. Like the whole world changing with the Bombers winning the Grey Cup! More on that in a bit…

The Jets won AGAIN on Tuesday night, beating the Red Wings. The team is now 19-10-1-1, good for 40 points. As we chat on Wednesday morning, they are just two points behind the Blues, who hold down top spot in the Central. Heady stuff. They certainly look like they are going to make me eat my words about not making the playoffs.. I think.. maybe.. haha

One caution: Since Nov. 1, the Jets have won 13 games, but only four of those victories have been against current playoff teams — Vegas, Florida, and the Dallas Stars twice. They’ve certainly made hay in this soft spot in their schedule, but it will be interesting to see how they fare once they start playing the Caps, Bruins, Isles, Blues and Avs of the world. The one game they had against a top tier team in November, they got whacked 4-0 at home by Colorado.

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019

Long-suffering Bombers fans face identity crisis

Paul Wiecek 7 minute read Preview

Long-suffering Bombers fans face identity crisis

Paul Wiecek 7 minute read Friday, Nov. 22, 2019

The Winnipeg Jets are the most popular sports team in this province. They attract the overwhelming share of the sports fan’s dollar, draw the biggest ratings on television and are the elephant in all our living rooms for the better part of eight months every year.

But for my money, it’s the Blue Bombers — and, in particular, their fans — who best embody the uniquely tortured spirit of this province.

Our football team torments us just like the province in which we live. One gives us a brutal winter and mosquitoes; the other gives us botched fake punts and Kevin Glenn breaking an arm in the 2007 East Division final.

And yet we love them both, not despite the fact they torment us but precisely because of it.

Friday, Nov. 22, 2019

Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press files
Bombers fans cover their faces with paper bags during a game against the B.C. Lions in 2013.

O’Shea has earned new deal… but will he stay or will he go?

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 16 minute read Preview

O’Shea has earned new deal… but will he stay or will he go?

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 16 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019

Say What?! is an email conversation between sports editor Steve Lyons and retired sports columnist Paul Wiecek. Look for us regularly but intermittently on the Free Press website.

Steve Lyons: Hello there, how are you? No shortage of sports news in River City these days — you keeping up?

Fresh storylines make my job a whole lot easier!

The Bombers beat the Stamps in Calgary in a playoff game — that my friend is a very new storyline.

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019

Say what?! Jets fans deserve better explanation on Buff's decision to bail on team

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 14 minute read Preview

Say what?! Jets fans deserve better explanation on Buff's decision to bail on team

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 14 minute read Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019

| Say What?! is an email conversation between sports editor Steve Lyons and retired sports columnist Paul Wiecek. Look for us regularly — but intermittently — on the Free Press website.

Steve Lyons: Hello there. How are things? I know we’ve both been away, so plenty to catch up on. I wanna hear about your trip to the coast, but let’s get some of this sports stuff out of the way first.

I hate to sound all negative today — it’s my birthday, so lasting another year has me feeling grateful. Plus, I usually leave the Mr. Negative stuff to you.. ask anyone haha. But gotta say two things right off the hop — there’s no way the current roster of the Winnipeg Jets gets them to the playoffs let alone a Stanley Cup victory, and I’m afraid to say this but the Bombers Grey Cup drought will continue at least one more season.

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019

Say What?! Is Laine looking to get out of Winnipeg... and is Streveler the second coming of Dunigan?

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 15 minute read Preview

Say What?! Is Laine looking to get out of Winnipeg... and is Streveler the second coming of Dunigan?

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 15 minute read Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019

Say What?! is an email conversation between sports editor Steve Lyons and retired sports columnist Paul Wiecek. Look for us regularly — but intermittently — on the Free Press website.

 

Steve Lyons: Heya... how are things? Hope you’re having a great summer at the cottage — less chance to annoy anyone out there anyways haha

Lots of news these days on the home front. Patrick Laine casts a shadow over his future in Winnipeg; Matt Nichols goes down with an injury; and did you hear there’s an NFL game in town tonight?

Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019

Say what?! Has Chevy mis-managed Jets' window to win Cup?

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 15 minute read Preview

Say what?! Has Chevy mis-managed Jets' window to win Cup?

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 15 minute read Thursday, Jul. 4, 2019

Steve Lyons: Hello there. How are you doing? I know you’re having a dream summer, finally spending the whole season at the lake — how’s that going?

I imagine every once in awhile you’re following what’s going on in the real world because you’re like that.

So...

The Jets lost another roster player this morning when Ben Chiarot signed with the Canadiens.

Thursday, Jul. 4, 2019

Say What??! Controversy continues to be a challenge for video review

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 15 minute read Preview

Say What??! Controversy continues to be a challenge for video review

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 15 minute read Thursday, May. 16, 2019

| Say What?! is an email conversation between sports editor Steve Lyons and retired sports columnist Paul Wiecek. Look for us regularly but intermittently on the Free Press website.

 

Steve Lyons: Heya, how’s it going? I hear you have now migrated to the cottage for the summer — waiting for it to arrive no doubt.

Thursday, May. 16, 2019

Say What?! Jets problems begin with Wheeler

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 13 minute read Preview

Say What?! Jets problems begin with Wheeler

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 13 minute read Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019

Say What?! is an email conversation between sports editor Steve Lyons and retired sports columnist Paul Wiecek. Look for us regularly -- but intermittently -- on the Free Press website.

Steve Lyons: Heya —how’s it going there? Definitely spring like the last week here — I imagine there is still ice on the lake, right?

An early spring vacation for the local hockey team — lots of hand wringing going on here in River City. Was out with friends on Saturday after they lost and one grown man was having a tantrum. Geez.

There were huge expectations for the Jets this season — frankly, they never seemed to get it in gear with any consistency all year, so the inconsistency in losing to the Blues should not have been unexpected.

Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019

Say What?! Jets are a riddle wrapped up in an enigma

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 16 minute read Preview

Say What?! Jets are a riddle wrapped up in an enigma

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 16 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2019

Steve Lyons: Morning bud — how are you?

Last time we chatted like this, you had just got back from the Caribbean — how’d ya enjoy the rest of winter? It’s over now, right?

We also chatted about how it was time for the Jets to flip the ignition switch if they were planning on hitting the playoff stretch drive — and the playoffs — in high gear. I’ve seen a few signs, but would be hard-pressed to say a lot has changed so far this month. The club played a few solid games on its recent road trip — particularly the 8-1 drubbing of Carolina — and played a decent game against the Caps in Washington and last night at home vs the Sharks, but they seem to be finding ways to lose rather than ways to win.

This team has been an enigma all season — so hard to predict what its going to look like and play like in April. Really good, but Inconsistent, doesn’t usually win a Stanley Cup.

Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2019

Say What?! It's time for Jets to flip the switch

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 18 minute read Preview

Say What?! It's time for Jets to flip the switch

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 18 minute read Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019

Steve Lyons: Hello there, how’s it going? The last time we chatted like this, you were on a Caribbean island of some sort; you’re home now in balmy Manitoba — how’s that going?

Was the month away long enough? I imagine being away for a few months — or years lol — is I was living the life of retirement.

Same old here — gorgeous blue skies and freezing temperatures. So, half like Nevis right?

What’s not the same is the play of the local NHL team. Yikes! They’ve lost twice in the last 10 days to the worst team in the league (Ottawa) and once to a team that broke a seven-game losing streak (Colorado). Patrik Laine hasn’t scored since — well maybe since you went to Nevis and came back — and despite still leading the Central Division standings, this team looks terrible right now. I’m gonna guess you have a thought or two?

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019

Controversy in Jets’ net is news all the way to Nevis

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 17 minute read Preview

Controversy in Jets’ net is news all the way to Nevis

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 17 minute read Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019

 

Steve Lyons: Hello there! A belated Happy New Year to you — and to the seven people reading this haha

So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room right away. It’s -26 C here today and where are you?

Some Caribbean island nobody’s ever heard of correct?

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019

Jets are heck of a team even with a struggling No. 1 goaltender

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 14 minute read Preview

Jets are heck of a team even with a struggling No. 1 goaltender

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 14 minute read Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018

 

Steve Lyons: Hello there. How’s it going? Hope retirement is treating you well. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve chatted. I had a vacation and went to the west coast — man, it’s nice there — and well, you’re now on a permanent vacation haha

How’s the couch?

So, I was in the boss’s office the other day chatting about the Jets — we do that — and he quoted you! Something along the lines of this: as Wiecek would say over and over again — the Jets fortunes seemed to be tied to the success of Connor Hellebuyck.

Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018

Say What?! Jets take back seat to the Blue Bombers this week

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 15 minute read Preview

Say What?! Jets take back seat to the Blue Bombers this week

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 15 minute read Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018

Steve Lyons: Hello there. How’s it going? Hope the retirement thing is going well. Sorry I don’t get right back to you on those mid-day texts — I’m like working.

Apparently you have plenty of time now to lie around and watch sports — is it different watching now that you don’t have to be thinking about what you’re going to write? I’m still getting paid to watch it by the way (*sticks out tongue*).

Some big games coming up this weekend and obviously the Bombers playoff match against the Riders in Regina being the most notable. The Jets have a couple of games as well and need to get things going in the right direction, but the Blue and Gold once again have a chance to win a playoff game — they haven’t done that since 2011 when they won the East Final — and I’m wondering how we judge this season if they fall short in Saskatchewan.

Paul Wiecek: Those afternoon Jets broadcasts from Helsinki were perfect for a retired guy like me. I watched the first period, napped during the second period and then woke up sometime in the third when things really got interesting. Every NHL game should be held on a weekday afternoon.

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018

Say What?! Jets winning this season despite themselves

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 13 minute read Preview

Say What?! Jets winning this season despite themselves

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 13 minute read Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018

Steve Lyons: Hello there. Miss me? Should we call you Mr. Retirement now?

So, it’s been a couple of weeks since you hung up the quill — how’s it going?

I’m curious about a few things, but I’ll start with this: I watched a lot of sports as a fan the first 25 years of my life and I’ve watched a lot of sports as a journalist over the last 33 years of working in the biz — so, my thought has always been I’m going to detox from sports for at least 12 months after I retire.

I guess you’ve watched a bit though, because you were texting me the other day about your baseball team (*rolls eyes*). Spending some time in front of the tube still, are ya?

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018

Dream job crossed off list; I’m going to the beach

Paul Wiecek 8 minute read Preview

Dream job crossed off list; I’m going to the beach

Paul Wiecek 8 minute read Friday, Oct. 5, 2018

I got my first job at the Winnipeg Free Press in 1977 at the age of 10 — 53 papers on Machray Avenue, Main Street to Salter Street.

A dozen years later at the age of 22, the Free Press also gave me my first real job — cop reporter, 200,000 papers, provincewide.

I’ve been here ever since. Until today.

Because today, I’m retiring.

Friday, Oct. 5, 2018

Paul Wiecek

For championship-starved Winnipeg fans, this is finally the year they’ve been dreaming of

Paul Wiecek 7 minute read Preview

For championship-starved Winnipeg fans, this is finally the year they’ve been dreaming of

Paul Wiecek 7 minute read Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018

There is an unmistakable symmetry to the idea Canada’s best hope to end an interminable Stanley Cup drought — which is now officially being measured in quarter-centuries — rests with a city that is home to one of the few championship droughts in North American sport even longer than that.

It’s been 25 years since a hockey team from Canada hoisted a Stanley Cup; it’s been 28 years since either of this city’s two major sports teams hoisted a trophy of their own at Portage and Main.

All of which is to say, we feel your pain Canada. More than most.

Now, the oddsmakers will tell you that it’s the Toronto Maple Leafs who are currently the favourite to win the Stanley Cup at odds of 7-1 (the Jets are the second pick at 17-2).

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018

JOHN WOODS/ WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
Winnipeg Jets salute their fans after losing game five and the NHL Western Conference Final against the Vegas Golden Knights in May.

Sports fans pay the price for hope

Paul Wiecek 6 minute read Preview

Sports fans pay the price for hope

Paul Wiecek 6 minute read Monday, Oct. 1, 2018

Professional sports are costly — for the fans who buy the tickets and the merchandise; for the cities that all too often supply the stadiums and arenas; and, in the long run, for the athletes who reap huge financial rewards but often pay a huge price in terms of their well-being.

But you knew all that already. Today’s topic is a different question: is it worth it?

I got thinking about that over the weekend, after coming across a new study that examined what fans get for all the money invested in beloved sports teams.

The study’s release was serendipitous, coming as it did in the same week as revelations Manitoba taxpayers are now stuck holding the bag on almost $200 million in construction costs "loaned" to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to build Investors Group Field, but which the province has now written off.

Monday, Oct. 1, 2018

Attending a Winnipeg Jets game is the seventh-most expensive night out in the NHL and the fifth-worst deal in the league overall when comparing how much it costs to go to a game to the team’s overall winning percentage, according to a new study by an American university professor. (John Woods / The Canadian Press files)

Fans will pay the price as Blue Bombers freed from financial tether

Paul Wiecek 6 minute read Preview

Fans will pay the price as Blue Bombers freed from financial tether

Paul Wiecek 6 minute read Friday, Sep. 28, 2018

The Manitoba Tories said this week they’ve “saved” the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

I’d argue quite to the contrary, they’ve doomed the Bombers -- and the rest of us suckers -- to decades more of lousy football on the field and mismanagement off of it.

In a classic example of government coming up with a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, the province announced this week it has written-off another huge chunk of the loan it gave the Bombers to help build Investors Group Field, and is now in negotiations with the CFL team to lower the annual mortgage payments it has been making.

How low can they go? Strap in -- this is going to be a free fall.

Friday, Sep. 28, 2018

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Is Tiger’s comeback the greatest of all time?

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 13 minute read Preview

Is Tiger’s comeback the greatest of all time?

Steve Lyons and Paul Wiecek 13 minute read Thursday, Sep. 27, 2018

Steve Lyons:

Hello there, 

It’s been awhile since we had this little chat. First, I was on vacation. Then, you took a few weeks off. Summer is obviously over, so time to get back to work.

The Jets are in full swing and launch another season next Wednesday is St. Louis and the Bombers are stumbling along to what looks like will be another Grey Cup-less season. Let’s chat more about both of those teams in a sec; but first I’m going to throw out a big fat ‘Told ya So.’ Insert tongue-sticking-out GIF of some sort here.

Thursday, Sep. 27, 2018

As Connor Hellebuyck goes, so do the Jets

Paul Wiecek 6 minute read Preview

As Connor Hellebuyck goes, so do the Jets

Paul Wiecek 6 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2018

What a difference a year has made.

You will recall that 12 months ago at this time, the biggest question in town was: is this the season the Winnipeg Jets return to the playoffs?

Well, flash forward to today, with the season-opener looming a week from Thursday and the new burning question in town is decidedly loftier: Is this the season the Winnipeg Jets win the Stanley Cup?

And Jets fans aren't the only ones asking. Indeed, the notion that the Jets have a realistic chance to hoist a Stanley Cup at Portage and Main next spring has become so ubiquitous that in a preview of the NHL season this week, one writer at USA Today even went so far as to declare the Jets this year’s “trendy pick” to win it all.

Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2018

The question for Jets fans to ask this year is 'What is Connor Hellebuyck going to do this season?' (Trevor Hagan / The Canadian Press files)