A Winnipeg Free Press investigative series into the life and destructive legacy of former hockey coach Graham James has been nominated for a prestigious national journalism award.

A Winnipeg Free Press investigative series into the life and destructive legacy of former hockey coach Graham James has been nominated for a prestigious national journalism award.

"A Stain on Our Game," a multi-day series by reporter Jeff Hamilton, was announced Thursday as one of five finalists for the Canadian Journalism Foundation's Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Free Press reporter Jeff Hamilton

Free Press reporter Jeff Hamilton

"This was not an easy story to uncover or write, but it was one that needed to be told to really get at the painful legacy of Graham James that continues to haunt the game of hockey," Free Press editor Paul Samyn said.

"I am delighted that Jeff Hamilton's reporting has earned this recognition from the CJF. I am also saddened that the nomination comes amid news that Jay Macaulay — one of the many young victims of Graham James who was brave enough to share his story with Jeff — died of an overdose this week."

The Jackman Award honours work which has "a profound impact on the communities they serve."

"COVID-19 dominates the news and our lives, but the finalists' entries reflect the wide range of subjects that large and small news organizations addressed in great detail during the past difficult year for everyone," said jury chairman Christopher Waddell.

"Their research and compelling investigative, explanatory and descriptive stories shed light on the many issues in communities across the country that continue to require public attention and response, even as the pandemic enters its second year."

The other finalists in the large media category (with more than 50 full-time employees) are CTV News Calgary, the Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette, and Toronto Star/Investigative Journalism Bureau.

The winner will be announced at a virtual award ceremony June 9.