MONTREAL (JTA) – Red Fisher, widely considered Canada’s greatest-ever hockey sports writer, has died.
Fisher died on Friday at the age of 91, 10 days after the death of his wife of 69 years, Tillie.
Fisher, born Saul Fisher in Montreal and nicknamed Red for his flaming red hair when he was young, covered the Montreal Canadiens for almost 70 years, from 1955 with the defunct Montreal Star until his retirement from the Montreal Gazette in 2012.
He was the longest-serving beat writer covering a Canadian hockey team, winning the Canadian National Newspaper Award three times.
His first story was the infamous “Rocket” Richard hockey riot outside the Montreal Forum in 1955, and his career went on to include five straight Stanley Cups for the Canadiens during the 1950s.
Fisher’s legendary status only grew over the decades, setting a sports writing standard with a concise, insightful, and pithy style with a curmudgeonly personality that suffered no fool gladly.
For example, Fisher refused to report gossip or write up rookies because they didn’t deserve it yet.
“He was not only a great newspaper man, he was a great writer,” commented former colleague Ron Reusch.
In all, he covered several thousand hockey games in his career. He was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
Shortly before his death, Fisher was honored with the conferring of the Order of Canada.