Class of 1997: Builder
Johnny Esaw was active in bringing figure skating coverage from the social pages of newspapers to prime time Canadian television audiences. Thanks to his guidance and enthusiasm since 1962, figure skating became one of CTV’s hottest properties. “It is the most natural thing in the world for TV because you don’t have to stage it, you don’t have to prepare it, you just let the skaters do their thing!” Through 28 years of announcing and producing Skate Canada and the Canadian Championships he became known as Mr. Figure Skating. He was instrumental in acquiring tv rights for the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck and led CTV’s successful bid to be Host Broadcaster for the 1988 Winter Olympics. Upon his retirement from CTV in 1990, he created the Johnny Esaw Skating Bursary which awards $10,000 each year to promising junior skaters. The same year, he was appointed as the first Trustee to the Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Fame and Museum Trust by former CFSA President Barbara Ryan. Johnny has been the recipient of many awards in his more than 40 years of sports broadcasting. In 1991, Johnny was selected as the Sportsman of the Year by the Jewish Community Centre of Toronto, inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and in 1992, in his home town, the North Battleford Sports Museum and Hall of Fame.