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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

FOSTER HEWITT

Inducted in 1975

Member Details

Date of Birth: November 21, 1902
Place of Birth: Toronto, Ontario
Date of Passing: April 21, 1985
Sport: Sport Broadcaster
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1923

Broadcast first live hockey game on radio

1931

Hosted opening ceremonies for new Maple Leaf Gardens

1952

Called first live television broadcast of a hockey game in Canada

1972

Called 1972 Summit Series

Honoured Member FOSTER HEWITT
Inspire

Story

His was the most famous voice in Canada for nearly half a century, a man who brought hockey to every Canadian and who established the Maple Leafs as Canada's team. Foster Hewitt created the gondola, the broadcast position high above the ice. He gave the world the term, "He shoots! He scores!" and gave the country the most famous five words in hockey history: "Henderson has scored for Canada!" Hewitt's father, William, was involved in hockey as far back as 1920 when he managed the Canadian team that won gold at the first hockey tournament at the Olympics. Foster was a champion boxer during his university days but after graduating he pursued broadcasting. On March 23, 1923, he made history at Mutual Street Arena by broadcasting the first ever hockey game live via radio, a match featuring Parkdale and Kitchener. Four years later, when Conn Smythe bought the Toronto St. Pats of the NHL and changed the team's name to Maple Leafs, Hewitt began transmitting NHL games from that same arena. When Smythe built Maple Leaf Gardens, Hewitt went to the big Eaton's department store downtown on Yonge Street and looked out the window to street level from every floor. When he was at the perfect height, he asked for his gondola to be placed similarly above the ice at the new arena. Hewitt was the master of ceremonies the night of November 12, 1931, when the Gardens opened, and he gave the world his famous expression, "He shoots! He scores!" to celebrate goals. For nearly 20 years he called every game on Saturday nights, and on November 1, 1952, he broadcast the first televised game in Canada, between Montreal and Toronto. Hewitt retired in 1957 from play-by-play, giving his son, Bill, the job while he stayed around to announce the Three Stars and to host the post-game show. In 1963, he retired altogether to devote more time to his radio station CKFH (CK Foster Hewitt). He came out of retirement in 1972 to call the Summit Series, and his career ended with the most famous call of all—"Henderson has scored for Canada!" to celebrate Paul Henderson's last-minute, series-winning goal. It was an appropriate swansong for the greatest voice hockey has ever known.


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