A few years ago I asked Bob Cole to help in reminiscing about our shared experience working at VOCM, Newfoundland’s pioneer private radio station in St. John’s. That was in the mid-1950s, before he began his 50 year career as Canada’s premiere hockey play by play announcer.
I told in my book, Yesterday’s News, about Bob’s practising hockey broadcasts on tape in between broadcasting chores – he was determined to break into the big time even then, and achieved his goal with great distinction. A picture he sent me for my book showed him, not in his hockey role, but as member of a VOCM rowing crew in the annual St. John’s Regatta.
Now it’s my turn to welcome Bob’s own lively memoir celebrating his fabulous career in hockey broadcasting. It is titled modestly enough “Now I’m Catching On”, a phrase he used to mark his progress in learning his play by play knowhow. My copy was a welcome family Christmas gift from my journalist son Ron.
VOCM Regatta crew
What I liked right from the start in his book is the artless manner in which Bob Cole described his life history, written almost exactly as he talked. Even though he credits the writing to journalist Stephen Brunt, I found the wording and phrasing much as I remember Bob’s manner of speaking. I can relate very well to much of what he described about his early life, having grown up in the same era and known many of the same people – we even played hockey against each other.
I have long admired Bob’s persistence in grounding his career, despite its endless travel commitments, in his home town of St. John’s, and in his family. For all of his exciting experiences, he retained his down to earth personality which doubtless had much to do in shaping his career success.
I enjoyed every bit of reading “Now I’m Catching On” and recommend it to anyone who appreciates a truly genuine success story.