'A civic treasure': Sask. reflects on Warren Woods' sports legacy and character
REGINA -- Saskatchewan people took to social media Wednesday to express their condolences to the friends and family of a Saskatchewan sports legend.
Long-time sports broadcaster, Warren ‘Woodsy’ Woods, died Jan. 20 at 3:25 p.m. with his children by his side. His death followed a weeks-long battle with COVID-19. Woodsy was 66 years-old.
Media personalities including Woods’ friends and colleagues, sports organizations and politicians expressed their sadness over the communities’ loss.
“Woodsy loved you all! He loved the people he covered, the fans he met, the strangers that would say I watched you on sports line!” Jamie Nye, host of 980 CJME’s Green Zone, wrote on Twitter. “He loved life. He loved his friends. He loved his kids and grandkids. And we all loved him right back. I’ll miss that laugh so damn much.”
Woods appeared alongside Nye on The Green Zone for years, further solidifying his spot in the lives of Saskatchewan sports fans.
“I’m not the only guy who is sad, the whole city, the whole province, he’s a civic icon, a civic treasure. He knew everybody,” Darrell Davis, who also worked alongside Woodsy on the Green Zone, said.
(Supplied: Janet Muyres)
Before appearing on the Green Zone, ‘Woodsy’ was welcomed into the homes and hearts of many in the province as the face of Sportsline on Global TV.
Prior to his time on Sportsline, Woods worked at CKSO radio in Sudbury, Ont., his hometown. He gained experience in Timmins as a TV sports reporter in the 1970s.
He began his career in 1974 hosting the overnight show at CKSO and several daytime and evening broadcasts. In 1979, Woods moved to CFCL TV in Timmins, where he was the director of sports.
Woods spent two years in Timmins before taking a job in Thunder Bay. He headed for the Prairies in 1987.
Fans and admirers note that he was often seen in a flannel shirt, ranting about the infamous Ring Road train, which has long plagued many Regina residents on their commute.
Though sometimes overshadowed by his famous, sometimes infamous, love for the Toronto Maple Leafs, it was curling that friends describe as Woods’ first love. He dedicated his decades-long career to ensuring amateur sports had a voice in Saskatchewan.
OUTPOURING OF CONDOLENCES
Woods’ friend and former colleague echoed a statement made by many who know him; whether he was on camera, on the airwaves or at the grocery store, it was always the same Woodsy.
“Rarely do you have a coworker that you call your best-friend and certainly Warren was that right?” Craig Adam said. “You would just sit and listen to the same old stories, but you wanted to hear them, because he would laugh.”
It’s Woods’ distinctive laugh that many say will be missed the most.
Saskatchewan’s premier shared in the community’s loss on Wednesday.
“Saskatchewan lost a great friend today. For this night and only for Woodsy... Go Leafs,” Scott Moe wrote on Twitter.
Woods gained admiration from some, and notoriety from others, for his passionate support of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Former Premier Brad Wall also shared a message on social media.
Messages from Woods’ friends expressed heartbreak over his passing and pride in his legacy.
“I cannot say enough good things about you, Woodsy. I'll miss you more than you know, buddy. Thanks for all the laughs,” Alex Dormuth, Woods’ friend and colleague, shared on Twitter.
“Woodsy blew my mind as a sports crazed teenager in the early 90s. Loved his folksy charm, & I mean that in the best way possible. Huge fan,” Mark Heise, owner of Regina’s Rebellion Brewing Co., said.
“Thank you for all the memories. Your tremendous passion for sports & the Queen City won't be forgotten,” the Regina Pats said.
TSN’s Dave Naylor called Woods’ passing a “terrible loss.”
Woods was admitted to the Regina General Hospital on Nov. 30. His daughter flew in from Ottawa days after he contracted the virus.
Ten supporters in Woods’ corner started a GoFundMe page to help pay expenses. Other supporters include CFL legends Ray Elgaard and Chris Best, and former colour commentator Carmelo Carteri.
As of Thursday evening, the GoFundMe page raised just shy of $65,000.
With files from CTV News' Colton Wiens and Darren MacDonald.