Earlier this week I was made aware of Don Taylor’s departure from Rogers Sportsnet as they are having all footage originate from their Toronto studios.
At first glance, my heart goes out to Donny and all the hilarity he brought to his audience; the second thing that really struck me was that Western Canada loses another very important part of it’s sports identity. There is now zero west coast perspective from what was a predominantly east coast run operation to a monopolized studio presence that is all Toronto.
I didn’t know much about Don Taylor until Sportsnet was introduced to Canada and offered a regional production called Sportsnet Pacific. He was a big part of a show out of Vancouver called “Sports Page” which again, I seemed to be late to the party on but he really helped shape the BC sports scene and gave British Columbian’s a face that we could all identify with as anti-toronto/anti east coast.
I met Don back in 2003 in Kelowna during the Mastercard Memorial Cup when he interviewed a young kid coming off a great rookie season in Rimouski. Some kid named Sidney Crosby. Laid back but asked the pro questions that good hosts do. A very down to earth guy with a sense of humor and a love for sports. It wasn’t just a love of sports, it was his willingness to listen to YOUR love of sports.
Not everyone loved Taylor, even in BC! But he brought a fun perspective to the blah that gets spewed from Toronto every night. His pre and post game analysis on the Canucks was part of a great team of guys like Dan Murphy, Garry Valk, John Garrett and John Shorthouse. He basically had an outlet to show the hilites but give it a Vancouver flair and a very non-Toronto perspective.
Don Taylor also has a huge love for the BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps. He understood the landscape because he grew up engulfed in it. Donny was a staple of west coast nightly recap in sports. His “nahiyneehiyi” sp? was annoying but it worked. Whenever an opportunity to use the term “brouhaha” came, he took it. The occasional use of the term donnybrook and always telling Garry Valk he dropped something as a running gag.
Mr. Taylor will be truly missed on the boob tube but thankfully he isn’t going far, and is upping his contribution to the local TEAM 1040 radio station. The afternoon drive in the lower mainland gets a few more hours of awesome every day but the evening crowd is losing a legend. I’m sure even former Canucks GM Mike Gillis will miss him.
Sportsnet has decided dollars and sense are more important and have consolidated their offerings. Too bad they spent $5.2 billion on the new NHL deal, they might have had enough to keep ol’ Donny around.
We will miss you Don Taylor. “Hey Sportsnet, you dropped….our hearts”
Looks like Garry Valk picked up all his stuff, nothing more to drop.
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Photo courtesy of http://www.sportsnet.ca