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Harvey Rosen with hockey great Teemu Selanne

By MYRON LOVE

For more than 40 years, popular Jewish Post & News sports columnist Harvey Rosen has been a fixture at Winnipeg sporting events.  Over the years, he has rarely missed a CFL football game or professional hockey game here.  He has been in attendance for every major sports banquet or local Hall of Fame induction. He has been, in his own words, “where the action is”.

 

 

 

But no more.
Rosen has been cutting back on his sports coverage for a few years now.  For years, a stringer covering the Bombers and the Jets for Canadian Press, he stopped going to the football games after the local team moved to its new home near the University of Manitoba and quit the hockey coverage a couple of years ago.  And, at the end of December, he wrote his last column for the JP&N.

 “I thought that it was time,” he says.  “You can’t go on forever.”
Rosen’s career as a sports writer began serendipitously with The Jewish Post (before the paper became The Jewish Post & News).  In 1976, the then Post editor, Sid Bursten, got the idea of starting a sports column.
 “My wife at the time, Judy, was a close friend of Brenda Barrie, Sid’s wife,”  Rosen recalls.  “Judy suggested to Brenda that I write the column.”

Rosen was an ideal choice.  He was always enthusiastic about sports. Growing up in the north end, he had played hockey and fastball as a kid.   As a junior high school teacher - a profession he pursued for 33 years- the lifelong north ender coached softball and led his teams to numerous city championships.
His column in the Post caught the eye of an editor at the Canadian Press, which hired Harvey as its reporter in Winnipeg.  He started with the World Hockey Association (for those readers old enough to remember those glory days for our city and professional hockey) and continued through the coming of the NHL to Winnipeg, the original Jets’ traumatic departure, the Moose and the return of the Jets.

There were many hectic times and long evenings, Harvey recalls.  He would often visit both dressing rooms for comments after a game, then have to hurry home and type up the column the same evening.
 “I became quite friendly with several of the professional athletes I covered,” he says.  “I have met many wonderful people.”

Both as a teacher and a sports writer, Harvey Rosen brought a positive approach to his work and those he worked with. “In the classroom, I always looked for reasons to compliment and encourage my students,” he notes.  “I approached athletes the same way.  Authentic compliments help to boost individuals’ confidence and morale I believe.”

But it was not only professional athletes that Rosen was able to hang out with.  His columns also put the spotlight on local Jewish amateur athletes – both younger individuals and seniors – in a wide variety of sports.  He notes that Y Sports Dinner committee members, such as Ernie Nairn and the late Ken Kronson  regularly sought his input when seeking nominees for the Jewish Athlete of the Year award.

And, for many readers, their favourite Rosen columns were those in which he highlighted the Jewish athletes in professional sports such as major league baseball, the NFL and the NHL.
How did he do it?  By scouring the weekly and monthly football, baseball, hockey, and other sports publications to which he subscribed.

 “Sometimes, you can tell by the name,” he points out.  “But then you get a name like Mike Camalleri  (Jewish mother).  If I suspected that a player was Jewish, I would contact the player to confirm it.”
  Rosen is receiving some well-earned official recognition of his own these days.  He reports that True North (the Jets parent company) invited him to supper and a game in January and that he is going to be honoured at the next Rady JCC Sports Dinner.
 “I am going to miss the writing,” he says.
He might not be entirely finished though. He suggests that he may still submit stories from time to time.

Ed. note: As a footnote to this column, I‚Äąthought I’d pass along a note received from Ernie Nairn about nominations for Jewish Athlete of the Year:
The Rady Jewish Community Centre Sports Dinner Committee is now accepting nominations for the Annual Jewish Athlete of the Year Award to be presented at the 47th Annual Rady JCC Ken Kronson Sports Dinner, Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at the RBC Convention Centre.
Athletes, their coaches or family members can nominate the individual.
Please provide a summary of the nominee's accomplishments over the past 12 to 18 months, and at what level they competed at, either the high school, university, provincial, national or international level.
Please include all contact information including a phone number.
Nominations can be dropped off or mailed to the attention of Sheldon Appelle c/o "Jewish Athlete of the Year Nominations Committee, Rady JCC Community Centre, 123 Doncaster Street, Winnipeg, MB R3N 2B3
Nominations can also be emailed to Sheldon Appelle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Deadline: All nominations must be received by Friday, April 26, 2019.

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