Canada lost a pair of legends this week, with the passing of Howie Meeker and Alex Trebek.
Meeker, 97, was a longtime Parksville Qualicum Beach resident, well-known and beloved by locals and other Canadians alike.
Trebek was the storied host of the TV game show ‘Jeopardy’. He lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 80.
Both were fixtures in Canadian living rooms for decades. Both were icons in their own unique way.
Meeker, a revelation as a brash, opinionated hockey analyst, who reminded us to ‘stop it right there’ as he shared his love of the game through our screens.
Trebek, the elegant host who made us so comfortable and delighted us with his knowledge and understated wit.
Both will be greatly missed.
For us here in PQB, Howie was a source of pride. Virtually everyone has a story about bumping into him on the boardwalk, attending his hockey school or just sharing a few words here and there. He loved people and they loved him.
He was heavily involved in charitable activities and was a strong booster of environmental causes.
His story was amazing and unique. NHL player and coach. War veteran. An MP while he played for the Toronto Maple Leafs. All before becoming one of the nation’s most beloved broadcasters and hockey instructors. A Hall of Famer and member of the Order of Canada. A life well-lived, to be sure.
The tributes, of course, rolled in after fellow local resident and broadcasting legend Bernie Pascall shared news of Meeker’s passing via social media. (Check www.pqbnews.com later this week for a podcast as Pascall shares some of his treasured memories of his friend).
NHL players, heads of state… folks from all walks of life who grew up with Meeker as a big part of their lives shared their thoughts.
“Howie Meeker connected countless fans to hockey with his wisdom and infectious voice. The National Hockey League celebrates his life and mourns his passing,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, among the hundreds of messages.
The fact so many weighed in was a measure of Meeker’s impact, not just on the game of hockey, but the nation as a whole.
The outpouring of love and gratitude was similar for Trebek, who garnered most of his fame south of the border but never forgot his Canadian roots. He taped his last show just a week before his death. A legendary worker to the end.
Our sincere thanks to both Howie and Alex for the joy they brought to our lives, and our condolences to their families and all who loved them both.