As everyone’s eyes were focused on the Grey Cup this weekend, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame honoured Gazette CFL writer extraordinaire Herb Zurkowsky by including him in its illustrious group. (The story is penned by a Canwest writer only because no Gazette sports reporter could write one without referring to their colleague as “Sunshine Zeke”.)
Mind you, next to story-that-writes-itself Tony Proudfoot, who was also inducted, Herb took a back seat in non-Canwest stories about the inductions (where such stories even existed at all).
But the honour was absolutely deserved. Like his compatriot on the hockey side Pat Hickey, Zurkowsky works like crazy churning out copy on a daily basis (and in many cases, two or three stories a day). But while there are hockey games every couple of days, there’s only one game a week for the Alouettes, so Zurkowsky has to dig deep to find stuff to write about. That usually comes in the form of feature stories about the individual players.
But what I like more about Zeke Herbowsky is that he’s not afraid to be a troublemaker. The players regularly get pissed off at him. General manager Jim Popp, who Zurkowsky heavily criticized last year when he was head coach, refuses to talk to him. And yet, Zurkowsky always has the scoop on the team, knows what management is thinking and what the players are doing. His access to the team, even having alienated the GM, is the envy of whoever else is left covering CFL football in Montreal.
Don’t worry though, Zurkowsky isn’t letting the award getting to his head. He’s not being a diva or anything (I’m kidding, of course – besides, he has some backup there).
Besides, his novels are long enough as they are. Last thing we need is him thinking he’s some sort of reporter superstar and start filing 1,500-word articles.