Winnipeg Jets fans paid tribute to Free Press writer Randy Turner with a moment of silence Thursday night at Bell MTS Place.

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Winnipeg Jets fans paid tribute to Free Press writer Randy Turner with a moment of silence Thursday night at Bell MTS Place.

Turner, an award-winning writer in sports, news, features and columns for 31 years, died Wednesday after a battle with cancer. He was only 57.

Turner was no stranger to the downtown arena, covering the Manitoba Moose for several seasons.

"He covered the Manitoba Moose closely throughout their first incarnation, developing close friendships at many levels of the organization," said public address announcer Jay Richardson. "Randy was a gifted story-teller whose articles reflected the true sense of humour he possessed as a person."

Turner was nominated for a National Newspaper Award seven times, winning the prestigious award twice, and wrote three books for the Free Press including Back in the Bigs and The First Season, which were both about the return of the NHL and the Jets to Winnipeg.

He was the first winner of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame's Ed Sweeney Memorial Award for raising awareness of Manitoba's hockey history with Back in the Bigs.

Turner was huge fan favourite on Twitter, with 65,000 followers, and he never missed an opportunity to share his thoughts on the Jets, Blue Bombers and a wide range of sports with his dry sense of humour.

"The advent of Twitter allowed that wit to truly shine through in recent years. His easy-going, every-man personality will be missed by his family and the wide network of friends and readers he leaves behind," Richardson said.

– Bell