Prince George Citizen reporter Ted Clarke has been honoured with the Canada West 2019-20 Fred "Gus" Collins award for his extensive coverage of student athletes.
Clarke has covered the University of Northern BC Timberwolves for the last 20 years and Rich Abney, UNBC sports information officer, nominated him for the award.
"Ted is so deserving of this award because his passion for sports has always been about more than wins and losses or scores and standings," Neil Godbout, The Citizen's editor-in-chief, said.
"Student athletes have an inspiring story to tell, not just to high school athletes who dream of being a Timberwolf one day but to all residents, about dedication, resilience and commitment to excellence. Ted has done a fantastic work for so many years telling those stories."
The award is named after Collins, a longtime member of the Calgary Herald sports department who Clarke worked with back in the day.
"I just wanted to thank Canada West for this Fred "Gus" Collins award," Clarke said. "I had the pleasure of working with Gus when I was just starting out as a sportswriter in 1990. I had the good fortune to get hired out of Mount Royal College on an internship at my hometown paper, the Calgary Herald," Clarke said.
"Fred loved stats and showed me how to write up agate results. At the time he had the Calgary Cannons triple-A baseball beat and he was one of the guys at the Herald who really took me under his wing. He showed me a few tricks about how to spice up a game story that I still utilize today."
Clarke's dedication to telling the stories of amateur sport in Prince George and the value he places on interviewing athletes, coaches, and others face-to-face has yielded exceptional coverage of the Timberwolves.
"The four UNBC teams and the success they have shown on the basketball court and the soccer field are a source of pride for the people of Prince George," Clarke said.
"In addition to watching local kids shine at the highest level, UNBC attracts international athletes of the highest quality. Not only are they a joy to watch but you never have to look hard to find an interesting angle for a feature story on how they ended up in Northern B.C."
As a sports department of one Clarke can often be found at UNBC covering the Timberwolves while also keeping tabs on the city's WHL, BCHL squads, and others.
"As someone who worked in media and witnessed the shrinking windows of time and resources available, Ted stands out as an outlier in the journalism world," said UNBC sports information officer Rich Abney. "We are incredibly thankful for his dedication, honesty, willingness to dig deeper for compelling stories, and his work ethic that provides UNBC and Canada West with significant exposure."
Clarke joined the Citizen team in October 1994, after a year as the sports editor of Prince George This Week.
"Ted has been a fixture in the Prince George media scene since I was a boy growing up in the local community," Todd Jordan, UNBC men's basketball coach, said. "It is great to see him get rewarded with this recognition after all his years of dedicated services to covering sports at UNBC. We have the best local news coverage in Canada West and this award is well deserved."
Through his excellent coverage of UNBC, Clarke also heightened the profile of Canada West as a whole, emerging as this year's Collins Award winner from a talented and dedicated list of nominees from across Western Canada, a recent news release said.
"Ted's excellent coverage of UNBC and Canada West is greatly appreciated, especially considering the fact that newsrooms are shrinking and fewer resources are being dedicated to telling the incredible stories of student-athlete success on our campuses," Evan Daum, CW associate director of communications and marketing, said.
"We had several outstanding nominees for the Fred "Gus" Collins Award this season, which only serves to highlight the work Ted did, as he was selected as the best from a very talented and dedicated group of nominees."
"We want to congratulate Ted on this well-earned recognition. He has watched this program grow over the past years and provided this community with the most up to date coverage," Loralyn Murdoch, UNBC director of athletics, said. "Ted's pride in covering UNBC athletics does not go unnoticed and we are very lucky and appreciative to have him telling our story."
Clarke now moves forward as the CW nominee for the Fred Sgambati Media Award, which is awarded annually by U SPORTS.