Early in January of 1984, I was rolling across the concourse on my way to get post-game cocktails at Northlands Coliseum as cleaning crew finished up for another night.
I caught sight of him from the corner of my eye: perched well above the ice in a press box cubicle concealed by bright white lights, donning a white headset.
John Short was engaging in conversation. About sports.
over CFRN 1260 radio.
He once declared, “I don’t work hard.” However. I put in a lot of work.
“There is a distinction.”
Following the passing of my friend John on Thursday—someone I had the honor of knowing for nearly 50 years—lessons like that and countless others are and will continue to be shared.
Contacted in Sweden on Thursday, retired Oiler Kevin Lowe referred to John as a sports radio pioneer.
When I was a young player, he was a huge supporter of mine, and I was grateful for that.
I’m so sad to learn of his passing.
According to Lowe, “He was a pioneer and legend in Edmonton sports.”
When the Oilers joined the NHL in 1979, John was the director of public relations.
That’s when I noticed the man’s thoughtfulness and kindness.
John proposed that the Oilers issue me two press passes—one for myself and the other for a helper. I use a wheelchair and have a disability.
That practice is still used today, and the Edmonton Elks followed suit.
However, that year he did more for me. The general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, my dad’s closest friend, Keith Allen, was traveling with the team when they made their inaugural visit to Edmonton.
I wanted to take my dad to the Flyers game, but I had already made plans for an assistant to accompany me.
I didn’t ask for additional passes when I called John. I gave an explanation of the circumstances.
A protracted silence ensued.