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"DRY" 2003 Obituary


DRYDEN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-04-11 published
Hockey News co-founder had winning formula
By James CHRISTIE Friday, April 11, 2003 - Page S10
Toronto -- No one was going to get rich from The Hockey News, Ken McKENZIE freely admitted. The wealth he shared was in the information it contained for fans and those in the hockey industry.
McKENZIE who died Wednesday at Trillium Hospital in Mississauga, was co-founder 1947 -- along with Will CÔTÉ -- of the publication that came to be known as hockey's Bible. He was 79.
His son, John McKENZIE, said Ken died suddenly when he went into septic shock following surgery for colon cancer.
Ken McKENZIE and CÔTÉ birthed a magazine that was a landmark in the Canadian periodicals industry -- a sport publication that survived when so many failed and folded. It evolved from a house organ for the National Hockey League -- McKENZIE was originally an National Hockey League publicist -- into an encyclopedic, authoritative publication. The content matured from reprints of stories by hockey beat writers in six National Hockey League towns to exclusive columns by The Hockey News's own editors and writers such as Steve DRYDEN and Bob McKENZIE (no relation,) who could challenge the National Hockey League and international hockey establishment. Ken McKENZIE was presented with the Elmer Ferguson Award for his pioneering role on the magazine's 50th anniversary in 1997 and inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"He loved hockey and sports of all kinds," said John McKENZIE, a correspondent with American Broadcasting Company News in New York. "He had this idea when he was in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He got up on a table in the mess hall and called his buddies around and said 'If I started a hockey paper, would you guys buy it?'
"They all cheered. He started with only $383 and The Hockey News was born."
Ken McKENZIE cited the figure as precisely $383.81 in a 50th anniversary story in The Globe and Mail. He was famed for keeping a close eye on finances down to the penny.
Along with editing associate Charlie HALPIN, McKENZIE operated the paper on a shoestring with a handful of employees. Newspaper beat writers in each team's city were paid only a few dollars.
"When I paid those guys, it was 10 bucks, later on 50 bucks, whatever, it was the going rate," McKENZIE said. "It was always cheap. You weren't going to get rich in this business.... I'd say to a guy, 'You may be big in Calgary or Edmonton or Vancouver, but if you write for this paper, they'll know you all across Canada.' A lot of guys liked that."
As the National Hockey League's publicity director from the 1940s into the late 1960s, McKENZIE developed press and radio guides and had access to teams' statistics and mailing lists. He and CÔTÉ used those to convince almost 4,000 fans to send in $2 each ($3 in the United States) as advance subscription payments to finance the first issue. The circulation was 20,000 by the end of its first year.
The Hockey News under McKENZIE maintained its comfortable relationship with the National Hockey League. McKENZIE bought out COTE's interest in the mid-1960s, then eventually sold 80 per cent of the magazine to New York's WCC Publishing in 1973 for a reported $4-million and the balance in the 1980s. The headquarters moved from Montreal to Toronto and McKENZIE stayed as publisher intil 1981.
He wanted to continue writing and working, rather than retire, and after leaving the hockey paper, he and HALPIN bought into Ontario Golf News. McKENZIE was still associated with the golf paper at his death, said Ontario Golf advertising executive Ted VANCE.
"I know it was first viewed as a house organ, but go through his stuff in the early years and it wasn't strictly milquetoast, said DRYDEN, The Hockey News editor from 1991 to 2002. "He may have had favourites and protected some people. As National Hockey League publicist, he could not be a vociferous critic. But long before the sale of The Hockey News, it was getting an edge to it. In the end, it was a helluva idea."
Added Bob McKENZIE: " Whatever anyone says, it's a good legacy to have started The Hockey News and to see where it's at today." Parent corporation Tanscontinental Publishing said The Hockey News has a paid circulation of more than 100,000.
Ken McKENZIE is survived by his wife Lorraine of Mississauga, four children -- John McKENZIE and Jane Mckenzie KOPEC of New York, Kim McKENZIE in Oakville, Ontario, and Nancy Mckenzie PONTURO in Redding, Connecticut., -- and five grandchildren. His funeral will be 11 a.m., Monday April 14, at St. Luke's Anglican Church on Dixie Road, Mississauga.

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DRYDEN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-06-23 published
Hockey coach who changed the game
'Captain Video' introduced new teaching tools in more than 25 years with the National Hockey League
By William HOUSTON Monday, June 23, 2003 - Page R5
The morning after Roger NEILSON was fired from his first of seven head coaching jobs in the National Hockey League, he returned to his office at Maple Leaf Gardens.
He viewed and edited the videotape of the Toronto Maple Leafs' loss to the Montreal Canadiens the night before. When a replacement didn't show up, he put the Leafs through a practice. Later, he was asked by a reporter why he was still hanging around.
"Somebody had to run the practice," he said. "Whoever comes in will have to look at the tapes."
The next day, Mr. NEILSON was reinstated when the club could not find a replacement, but Maple Leafs owner Harold BALLARD, always looking for publicity, wanted to make his return behind the bench a surprise. Mr. BALLARD tried to talk him into wearing a ski mask or bag over his head, and then dramatically throwing it off at the start of the game. Numbed by the three-day ordeal of not knowing his status in the organization, Mr. NEILSON almost agreed, but ultimately declined.
"He hated that story," said Jim GREGORY, who hired Mr. NEILSON to coach the Leafs in 1977 and was fired along with the coach at the end of the 1978-79 season. "I hated that story."
The incident reflected poorly on Mr. BALLARD, but in a smaller way it helped create the image of Mr. NEILSON we have today, that of a coach who put the team ahead of his ego, who was loyal to his players and dedicated to his job.
Mr. NEILSON, who died Saturday after a long battle with cancer, will be remembered not just as a man who loved hockey, but also as a skilled strategist and innovator. He stressed defensive play and systems, and also physical fitness. In Toronto, he was given the nickname "Captain Video," because he was among the first to use videotape to instruct his players and prepare for games.
When Mr. NEILSON, a soft-spoken man famous for his dry sense of humour, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last year, he was asked about the late, controversial Leafs owner.
"I'm sure he's looking up rather than down," he said, with a smile, before saying Mr. BALLARD did some "good things for hockey."
Mr. NEILSON was also named to the Order of Canada in January.
Roger Paul NEILSON was born in Toronto on June 16, 1934, and went as far as Junior B hockey as a player. While earning a degree at McMaster University in Hamilton, he started coaching kids baseball and hockey.
After graduating, he taught high school in Toronto and his passion by then was coaching. In hockey, he won Toronto and provincial titles at different levels. In 10 years, his Metro Toronto midget baseball teams won nine championships, once defeating a team that included pitcher Ken DRYDEN, who would later become a Hall of Fame goaltender with the Montreal Canadiens.
Mr. NEILSON scouted for the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League before moving to Peterborough in 1966 to coach the team. During his 10 years behind the bench, the Petes never finished below third place and won the league championship once.
By the time Mr. NEILSON moved to the National Hockey League to coach the Leafs in 1977, his reputation for creativity and also mischief was firmly established. In baseball, he used, at least once, a routine involving a peeled apple, in which the catcher threw what appeared to be the ball wildly over the third baseman, prompting the runner to race home. As the apple lay in the outfield, the catcher met the runner at home plate with the real baseball in his glove.
Always looking for a loophole in the rules, Mr. NEILSON's ploys instigated rule changes in hockey. On penalty shots against his team, he used Ron STACKHOUSE, a big defenceman, instead of a goalie. Mr. STACKHOUSE would charge out of the net and cause the shooter to flub his shot. The rule was subsequently changed to require the goalie to stay in his crease.
Over an National Hockey League career that lasted more than 25 years, Mr. NEILSON holds the record for most teams coached (seven.) He also held four assistant coaching positions. But he never won the Stanley Cup. He didn't coach great teams. He seemed to enjoy the challenge of taking an average group of players, making them into a solid, defensive unit, and seeing them succeed.
In his first year with the Leafs, he moulded a previously undisciplined group of players into a strong unit that upset the New York Islanders in the 1978 playoffs.
In 1982, Mr. NEILSON's playoff success with the Vancouver Canucks underscored his skill as a tactician and manipulator.
When Canuck head coach Harry NEALE was suspended late in the season, Mr. NEILSON, his assistant, took over. The Canucks weren't expected to advance past the first round of the playoffs. But backed by strong goaltending from Richard BRODEUR, they defeated the Calgary Flames and then the Los Angeles Kings to advance to the semi-finals against Chicago.
The Canucks won the first game, but with Chicago leading 4-1 late in the second game, Mr. NEILSON, unhappy with the officiating, waved a white towel from the bench, as if to surrender to the referee. He was fined for the demonstration, but the white towel became a symbol of home-fan solidarity. In the Stanley Cup final, the Canucks were swept by the powerhouse Islanders.
In addition to Toronto and Vancouver, Mr. NEILSON's journey through the National Hockey League consisted of head coaching jobs with the Buffalo Sabres, the Kings, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers. He worked as a co-coach in Chicago, and as an assistant coach with the Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators.
Ottawa, where he was hired in 2000, was his final destination. In the 2001-02 season, head coach Jacques MARTIN stepped down for the final two games of the regular season to allow Mr. NEILSON to coach his 1,000th regular-season game.
Frank ORR, who covered hockey for The Toronto Star for more than 30 years, said, in 2002, "Roger is one of the few people I've met in any line of work who never had a bad word to say about anybody."

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DRYSDALE o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-29 published
STANFIELD, Katherine Margaret (née STAIRS)
Died peacefully December 26, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Born February 1, 1918, eldest of Katherine (DRYSDALE) and Cyril W. STAIRS, Halifax, she attended Halifax Ladies College, Edgehill and the Halifax Business College before working at Wm. Stairs son and Morrow. She married Gordon (Pete) STANFIELD in 1940. They resided in Sydney and New Glasgow before settling in Halifax, summering in Bedford and vacationing in Bermuda. Kay will be remembered as a people person who made a life long contribution to her community through her many interests and activities as a member of the Waegwaltic and Saraguay Clubs, the Junior League, All Saints Cathedral, Victoria Hall and the garden club. She is survived by sisters: Phyllis (MacDOUGALL) Toronto, Doshie (MacKIMMIE- KAUMEYER) Calgary, Betty (FREUND) Johannesburg, South Africa and brother Allan STAIRS, Montreal: daughters Nancy and Pegi, Calgary; sons David (Barbara) Halifax and Gordon (Kay), Dartmouth; grand_sons Peter (Karin SORRA), New Jersey, Michael, Vancouver, John (Julie) Calgary, David K and Matthew, Halifax; great grand_son William, New Jersey. She was predeceased by her husband of 55 years (1995) and brother Arthur STAIRS, Halifax. The family is most grateful for the care and support given to Kay by the staff and Friends at Melville Heights, her home since 1995. The family will receive visitors at Snows Funeral Home, Windsor Street, Halifax on Monday December 29 from 7-9: 00 p.m. The funeral service will be at All Saints Cathedral, Tuesday, December 30, 1:30 p.m.

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