John Shannon’s love for hockey started in Penticton.
“Oliver, when I grew up there, didn’t have a hockey arena. We had to come to Penticton,” Shannon told the Western News in 2016 while in Penticton, a stop on the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour in 2016. “We watched junior hockey here for years. There is a real community of people here that love the game and so much of it really does start with what the (1955) Vees did.”
Shannon was back where it started for him and he told the crowd at the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame (B.C. HHoF) banquet on July 29 that it was good to be back home.
“It is a bit of poetic justice that we’re here in Penticton,” said Shannon during his speech as he was inducted into the media category. “In the old arena, on a few Friday nights where we fell in love with the game. Sure, I can’t skate, I never skated, which makes me an expert.
“It was the Penticton Broncos, the old B.C. junior league, that I fell in love with the game,” Shannon continued after the crowd laughed at his expert joke. “Then it was Saturday nights in the Shannon home with those four special words, Hockey Night in Canada. That was it, that was the most important. Saturday night at 5 p.m.”
Shannon was the executive producer of Hockey Night in Canada on CBC before being named vice-president of Maple Leaf Sports and oversaw the launch of Leafs and Raptors TV. Shannon also worked five Olympics and received an Emmy for his work on NBC’s coverage of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Shannon said producing the Stanley Cup Finals was an honour.
“To produce it when you are 23, is overwhelming, but to be part of the game, that involved Mr. Pat Quinn, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in 1980 for his Philadelphia Flyers and from that day forward Pat Quinn was my friend, was truly a great honour,” he said.
Shannon said to be with the people for the B.C. HHoF, is “absolutely remarkable.”
The 2017 induction class includes former Vancouver Canucks Thomas Gradin and Tony Tanti, who were added to the players category, Burnaby’s Dave Nonis, former general manager of the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs in the builders category; along with Vancouver Giants owner Ron Toigo, former NHL official Brad Lazarowich in the officials category and the 1996-97 Powell River Regals in the team category.
Shannon, who works as an on-air personality for Rogers Sportsnet, thanked the inductees for what they have done for the game, their exploits.
“I can’t score goals and break up fights,” he joked. “I’ve started a few. I’m here because I love to talk about the game. I love to tell stories about the game. My goal in life was to make sure every person that went to a hockey game and watched it on television said, ‘Holy smokes, I didn’t know that. Wow, that was neat. I’m going to watch a game tomorrow night.’ That’s the whole idea.
“Tonight for me to be inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame is really humbling.”