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Time to hang up the line gauge, folks
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Time to hang up the line gauge, folks

Good morning, folks.

I’m not sure what Andrew Harris, Stanley Bryant and Adam Bighill have planned for 2022, but I’ve decided that with the Blue Bombers winning the Grey Cup on Sunday, I’m going to go out on top.

Yes folks, it’s time to hang up the line gauge. That’s a ruler-type instrument that was used to lay out pages in the paper before all these fancy computer programs came along. I still use it — well, used it.

After 34 years at the Winnipeg Free Press, I signed my retirement papers on Monday. My time with the paper comes to a close on Friday.

It’s been a long and winding road since that first day I walked into the old plant at 300 Carlton Street on March 1, 1987.

I would be hard-pressed to thank each and every person who has helped me and supported me along the way, but I would like to say a few special thank-yous to:

  • Jim Ketcheson, who gave me an internship and then a full-time sports reporter job at the Winnipeg Sun in 1986;
  • Scott Taylor and Jeff Blair for putting in a good word with FP sports editor Hal Sigurdson that got me the gig here in 1987;
  • Mark Stevens, who succeeded Siggy as sports editor and who entrusted me with the Bombers beat in 1991;
  • Julian Rachey, who took over from Stevens and gave me the job as night sports editor;
  • Pat Flynn, a longtime editor here at the FP who was one of the best newspaperman I ever knew and helped me understand the need for attention to detail;
  • Margo Goodhand for taking a chance on me as sports editor when Rachey retired;
  • current editor Paul Samyn for his continued trust over the last decade;
  • and of course, all the fine men and women I’ve had the honour of working with over the years in this grand craft.

There are also far too many memorable moments in a 34-year career covering sports in this city — the 1990 Grey Cup always seems to stand out — and far too many memorable people in our local community to make mention of, but again — a few special shout-outs go to:

  • people like Randy Anderson, Ted Foreman, George Allard and Maurice Glimcher for helping a cub reporter gets his legs under him on the local sports scene;
  • the late Cactus Jack Wells for encouraging a nervous young scribe covering the Blue and Gold;
  • Marvin McDonald, who covered the Amateur Scene here in Winnipeg, and was as nice a man as I ever met in the biz;
  • Bruce Johnson for bringing us chocolates every holiday season along with his donation to the Spirit of Christmas fund;
  • and Kai Madsen for... well, for being Kai Madsen.

Depending on how this whole pandemic thing plays out, I plan to do some travelling in the coming months: for those of you who might miss me, you’ll be able to read about that in the pages of the Free Press Destinations and Diversions section (on our website, that's the Travel section).

I have also been pondering a post-Free Press career — a second chapter, you might say — for several years and I will likely pursue that in 2022, as well.

For now, I’m going to put my feet up and enjoy the holiday season.

In closing, I’d like to say a special thanks to all of you. The one thing I’ve always tried to do — first as a reporter and then as an editor — has been to attempt to put your interests above all else.

It’s been a real privilege to serve you.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year — and take good care, folks.

— Steve

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