Hall of Famer
Inducted in 1975
Chairman of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee
Had the largest audience in radio - his morning broadcasts were listened to by more people than all the CBC radio stations in Canada combined
"I believe in news-truth, news-decency, and integrity" he said. Jack Dennett broadcast the 8am and 6:30pm news for radio station CFRB for 26 years and had more listeners than any other newscaster in Canada. Teachers would ask for transcripts of his broadcasts, which he himself wrote, for distribution to their students as exceptional examples of clear, concise English, not a bad compliment for someone who never completed high school. Dennett was born in Calgary and his intense interest in broadcasting and radio work led him to pass up an athletic career and take a job at the age of 15 sweeping floors at Calgary radio station CFCA. The following year, after going on the air for the first time on his 16th birthday, he was handling his own show. He had a remarkable voice which was ideal for high-paying commercial announcer jobs, but it was news broadcasting that became his forte. In 1935, he began between-period broadcasts for the Regina Senior Hockey League. He joined Toronto's CFRB radio station in 1943 and for 30 years was associated with NHL hockey broadcasts. He was an original member of the famous Hot Stove League along with regulars Wes McKnight, Bobby Hewitson, Elmer Ferguson, and Court Benson. In 1952, he joined the CBC's television hockey coverage on Hockey Night in Canada. Dennett's broadcasts were characterized by clarity, wit, and compassion for the average man. He was the only person in Canada to have been on the air with seven Canadian Prime Ministers, starting with R.B Bennett in 1943 and ending with Pierre Trudeau. Whether it was voicing a sports opinion on Hockey Night in Canada, extolling the virtues of a certain oil company, or presenting the news, Dennett was believable. And, given his total recall for Canada's athletic lore, he was ideally suited to the chairmanship of the selection committee for Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Dennett's early death from cancer at the age of 59 devastated Canadians, for without his calm voice over the airways every day, the ordinary citizen felt just a little bit less assured that everything was going to be alright in this world. That was Dennett's job, and nobody did it better.