(March 27, 2008)
Skate Canada is deeply saddened to hear about the passing of legendary sports journalist George Gross, who passed away at the age of 85 from a heart attack on Friday, March 21 in Etobicoke, Ont.
A fan and friend of figure skating, he covered the sport as a journalist in his native Czechslovakia before coming to Canada in 1950. From 1959 to 1971 he continued covering the sport at many North American Figure Skating Championships and World Figure Skating Championships.
Gross began his Canadian journalism career at the Toronto Telegram. In 1971 he became the sports editor for the Toronto Sun where he was one of the founders. He held this position until 1985 when he became the corporate sports editor of Sun Media, a position he held until his passing. Gross was also a member of the Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Fame Selection Committee from 1992-1996 and the author of the book “Donald Jackson King of Blades”.
“With his reporting George opened the eyes of many sports editors across the country and helped bring figure skating from the social pages to the sports pages and to the front pages of the Canadian press,” recalls 1962 World Champion and four-time Canadian Champion Donald Jackson.
Known to his colleagues as The Baron, the long-time former Sun sports editor was well-known in hockey and Olympic circles. Gross covered seven World Cup soccer tournaments, eight World Hockey Championships, 12 Olympic Games and 14 Wimbledon Tennis Championships.
George Gross was inducted into the broadcasters’ section of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985 and received a Stanley Cup ring from the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1992. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and named to the Olympic Order in 1994 as well as the Order of Ontario in 2003. Gross also won a National Newspaper Award in 1974 for his story on the defection of Czech hockey star Vaclav Nedomansky.
Skate Canada passes along its condolences to the Gross family and friends.