Red Fisher, a staple in Habs reporting for nearly 60 years, has called it a career at the ripe age of 85.
The man has been reporting on the Montreal Canadiens longer than my father has been alive. He has literally seen dynasties develop, watched men become legends and reported on anything involving the Habs for longer than any beat writer in the NHL, maybe even in professional sports.
I admit that I wasn’t always a fan of his articles. Some of them struck me as simply clinging to past triumphs, always comparing the then with the now. While I still firmly believe there is no comparison, based on general evolution, I can’t deny the man knew what he was talking about. There was always a different insight or angle that I discovered when reading his columns, always a learning experience. Even if it pissed me off sometimes, he had a unique way of seeing Les Glorieux, good or bad, that could only have come with unmatched years of reporting on the team.
He rubbed shoulders with men that have transcended being star players and entered the realm of folklore. Covered teams that did things that may never be seen again. He’s reported on 17 of the 24 Stanley Cups the Canadiens won. He’s seen the game evolve into what it has become today. We’re not just saying goodbye to a heavily respected reporter, we’re saying goodbye to a piece of Habs and hockey history.
I was listening in on Terry DiMonte speaking to Dave Stubbs on CHOM 97.7 Friday morning driving into work and just hearing Stubbs talk about Red Fisher, you could literally hear the respect he has for the man oozing through the radio. And that’s pretty much where it hit me that there would be no more Red Fisher columns. That one of a kind view of the Canadiens is gone.
So, my selfishness aside, best wishes to Red Fisher. Hockey fans can only dream of being in the position he was in. There’s one more record to add in the Canadiens’ books with the championships and the Hall of Fame players. And while you can never say never, all those years he informed and educated us may never be matched. Cheers to the Gordie Howe of sports writing.