This week on the show that’s still grieving, I reflect a bit on the takeaway lessons of Jason Botchford’s friendship and incredible professional impact, and how I feel changed personally and professionally since his passing. I wanted to put together a tribute show this week collecting stories from people who knew him like I did, and people who knew him better than me. But the timing didn’t feel quite right to do that. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, anyway. Not yet. But I did share my own stories of the man and the way he helped me with CHRIS FABER of CanucksArmy on his podcast, and with his permission have republished that conversation in full with my own introduction.
Well this fucking sucks.
As I’m sure by now you’re aware, long-time Canucks beat-writer Jason Botchford passed away this week from apparent heart failure. He was 48 years old, and is survived by his wife Kathryn and three young children, Sienna, Keira, and Hudson. The real tragedy here, and this can not be stated enough, is that a young family lost a loving and dedicated husband and father. But it is clear in the tributes and outpouring of love for him — on Twitter, on radio airwaves, in newspaper columns — that this was a man who meant so much to so many.
As a writer and broadcaster, he was an innovator. He was divisive. He was aggressive. He was unapologetic. He was authentic. And more than anything, he wanted to be respected. Though he could seem almost constantly aggrieved over perceived slights and felt at times unappreciated by his peers, I think he always knew his day would come — that the next generation of rising talents in the Vancouver hockey media looked up to him the way he had looked up to Tony Gallagher when he arrived in the city in 2005. Deep down Jason knew he would someday years down the line be toasted the way Tony is now — and if he didn’t, I did my best to tell him whenever I got the chance. Because this is not a case of a man being lionized in death, made to be larger than he was. Botch was always a living legend. And he was also my friend.