Alex Trebek, left, and Howie Meeker. (File photos)

Alex Trebek, left, and Howie Meeker. (File photos)

Opinion: Meeker, Trebek were true Canadian icons

Pair of legends remembered fondly by many across the country

Canada lost a pair of legends last week, with the passing of Howie Meeker and Alex Trebek.

Meeker, 97, was a longtime Parksville Qualicum Beach resident, well-known and beloved by locals and other Canadians alike.

Trebek was the storied host of the TV game show ‘Jeopardy’. He lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 80.

Both were fixtures in Canadian living rooms for decades. Both were icons in their own unique way.

Meeker, a revelation as a brash, opinionated hockey analyst, who reminded us to ‘stop it right there’ as he shared his love of the game through our screens.

Trebek, the elegant host who made us so comfortable and delighted us with his knowledge and understated wit.

Both will be greatly missed.

READ MORE: Canadian hockey and broadcasting legend Howie Meeker dies at age 97

READ MORE: ‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek dead at 80 after long battle with cancer

For the good people of PQB, Howie was a source of pride. Virtually everyone has a story about bumping into him on the boardwalk, attending his hockey school or just sharing a few words here and there. He loved people and they loved him.

He was heavily involved in charitable activities and was a strong booster of environmental causes.

His story was amazing and unique. NHL player and coach. War veteran. An MP while he played for the Toronto Maple Leafs. All before becoming one of the nation’s most beloved broadcasters and hockey instructors. A Hall of Famer and member of the Order of Canada. A life well-lived, to be sure.

The tributes, of course, rolled in after fellow local resident and broadcasting legend Bernie Pascall shared news of Meeker’s passing via social media.

NHL players, heads of state… folks from all walks of life who grew up with Meeker as a big part of their lives shared their thoughts.

“Howie Meeker connected countless fans to hockey with his wisdom and infectious voice. The National Hockey League celebrates his life and mourns his passing,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, among the hundreds of messages.

The fact so many weighed in was a measure of Meeker’s impact, not just on the game of hockey, but the nation as a whole.

The outpouring of love and gratitude was similar for Trebek, who garnered most of his fame south of the border but never forgot his Canadian roots. He taped his last show just a week before his death. A legendary worker to the end.

Our sincere thanks to both Howie and Alex for the joy they brought to our lives, and our condolences to their families and all who loved them both.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

EditorialshockeyMovies and TV

Just Posted

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Conservation officers transported the bear to a wildlife veterinarian in Nanaimo for examination

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

RCMP outside the Nanaimo Ice Centre investigating a report of a suspicious person. The incident resulted in hold-and-secures at two nearby schools, but those emergency procedures have now been lifted. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
UPDATE: Police response a result of man walking around Nanaimo marsh with airsoft rifle

Two schools had gone into hold-and-secure procedures Thursday morning, May 13

Pixabay
Island Health announces two doctors, new clinic space for Port McNeill

Island Health has leased space to use as an immediate clinic location to avert health crisis

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Saanich police and a coroner investigated a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal Greater Victoria crash

Driver who died veered across centre line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

Island Health’s new Wellness and Recovery Centre at 5878 York Rd. is now planned to be open in the fall. (File photo)
Controversial Cowichan Wellness and Recovery Centre will now open in the fall

Three community dialogues scheduled for May and an advisory committee coming

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Most Read