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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

MILT DUNNELL

Inducted in 1991

Member Details

Date of Birth: December 24, 1905
Place of Birth: Downie Township, Ontario
Date of Passing: January 3, 2008
Sport: Sport Broadcaster
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1949-70

Sports Editor, Toronto Star

1988

Jack Graney Award for outstanding media contribution to Canadian baseball

1991

Civic Award of Merit from the City of Toronto

1992

Special Sovereign Award for unique contributions to thoroughbred racing

1997

A.J. Liebling Award for outstanding boxing writing

Honoured Member MILT DUNNELL
Inspire

Story

Over the course of his illustrious career, Milt Dunnell was at the forefront of the Canadian sportswriting community. He covered the Olympic Games, both summer and winter, from 1952-68, the Stanley Cup, the World Series, and the Grey Cup. He traveled the globe to document international sporting events, from the horse races in the United States, to World Hockey tournaments in Europe, to boxing matches in Zaire, the Philippines, and Venezuela. One of the most prominent sportswriters of his time, Dunnell’s peers often referred to him as the “Dean of Canadian Sportswriters.” Dunnell began his career writing for his hometown paper, the St. Mary’s Journal-Argus. He then spent 13 years with the Stratford Beacon-Herald, five as sports editor, before landing at job with the Toronto Star in 1942. In 1949, he was appointed sports editor and daily columnist, a position he held until 1970. Dunnell’s well researched columns were consistently factual yet humourous. There is no doubt that his gracious reporting style had an enormous influence on the quality of Canadian sports writing, while his honesty and integrity earned him the respect of the athletic community. Dunnell was known for his informative and impartial reporting. He never used the first person, preferring to stay within the role of storyteller rather than dictator. He once told fellow Toronto Star writer Ken McKee, “I have always believed that you have to give the readers room for their opinions. I think if you emphasize the cap ‘I’ too much, it takes that away from them and (instead of) sharing opinion with them, becomes dictatorial.” As a media man throughout most of the century, Dunnell had to adapt to significant changes in technology throughout his career. With the advent of televised sports, Dunnell was one of the first to realize that sport writing would have to respond with broader, more in depth coverage in order to keep readers interested. Dunnell’s vast collection of awards and honours are a testament to his talent and versatility and proof of the sporting community’s profound reverence for his brilliant work. He received the Jack Graney Award for outstanding media contribution to Canadian baseball in 1988, the Special Sovereign Award for unique contributions to thoroughbred racing in 1992, and the A.J. Liebling Award for outstanding boxing writing in 1997. He is an honoured member of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s broadcasters’ inductees, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, and the B.C. Horseracing Hall of Fame. Dunnell received a civic award of merit from the city of Toronto in 1991 and also has an award in his name, which is annually bestowed upon a beginning journalism student at Ryerson University in Toronto. After his official “retirement” in 1970, Dunnell continued to write five columns a week, cutting down to three in 1984. Well in into his eighties, he just couldn’t leave the sports world, and the sports world certainly wouldn’t let him go without a fight. It wasn’t until 1994 that Dunnell, just shy of his 89th year, finally stopped writing.


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