You're all right, Mr. Anderson

MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

Earlier this month, I wrote a piece on Glenn Anderson that conjectured Anderson wouldn't make the Hockey Hall of Fame, not because he wasn't a deserving player, but because he was, well, a goof.

The column said Anderson was media-unfriendly and that trait, combined with an ugly child custody case, would keep him out of the Hall.

As an example, I cited Cal Nichols, the lead man of the Edmonton Oilers ownership group, who went to the trouble to lobby for Anderson.

"Glenn will be calling within a couple of minutes," Nichols told me.

When no call came, I wrote, in smug self-assurance, that it was typical that Anderson didn't respond.

Ten days later, I found a message on my office phone: "Hi, Mike, it's Glenn Anderson. Cal Nichols gave me your number but I couldn't reach you on your home or your cellphone."

Then he left me his cell number.

And so I ask you: Who's the goof now?

Ah, humility. If you don't find it, it will find you.

I called Anderson and found him in Hamden, Conn., on the campus of Quinnipiac University.

He was attending a workshop devoted to those wishing to move from player to play-by-play announcer.

Jason York, Dave Maley and former Maple Leafs' Bob McGill, Gary Valk, Paul Harrison and Anderson were studying up.

Anderson said he was interested in announcing, but mostly, he was curious to see how the media worked from the inside.

"I'm doing this for a lot of reasons," Anderson said. "I want to find out what the story is and why all these people write such negative things about me."

He is confused about why he is perceived the way he is.

"What I'm hearing is that a lot of guys are fabricating stories, getting into details while fabricating the truth."

Anderson said he made a conscious decision when he came to Toronto to co-operate with reporters.

"I don't remember blowing anybody off in Toronto. Who is saying I blew anybody off?"

Anderson said he did have a falling out with the media in Edmonton over an unspecified incident.

"At one point in time, the media went too far with me. I said if you don't want to play fair with me, I won't play fair with you. The line was crossed."

His support payment, he said, "was rectified a long time ago. It was more of the media feeding on one side of the story."

He said he was disappointed in not making the Hall last week, but mostly for his friends.

"A lot of guys, Wayne Gretzky, Kevin Lowe, Glen Sather, Mark Messier really stuck their neck out for me," Anderson said. "You feel bad about the guys who have been working on your behalf."

I feel bad, too. I impugned a guy who had tried to change when he left Edmonton. I didn't look past his reputation or thoroughly re-examine my own impressions.

Sometimes, the job calls for comment as well as content and while you must speak as if guided by absolute truth, you are scratching around for it like everyone else.

I don't flatter myself for a millisecond by thinking that a negative article about Anderson played a hand in him not being named to the Hall of Fame.

But I didn't help him, and my rationale was based on a distorted view and a petty prejudice.

Scott Young died Monday. He and Trent Frayne and Milt Dunnell and Jim Proudfoot made the job of sports columnist in Toronto one of the pinnacles of the profession.

Those guys set a standard. With the story on Glenn Anderson, I fell way short.


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