Clemente’s Corner: An Interview with Ken Reid

Canadian sports broadcaster Ken Reid knows hockey. He also knows hockey cards. A collector since childhood, Reid, who works for Canadian broadcaster Sportsnet, has written books about the hobby.

Author of “Hockey Card Stories: True Tales from Your Favorite Players” and “Hockey Card Stories 2: 59 More True Tales from Your Favorite Players,” Reid’s writing exudes passion and love for the cards we all grew up collecting.

It is Reid’s blend of humor, nostalgia and concise storytelling that makes him one of the finest sports journalists of our era. When he’s not making you feel like a kid again, Reid does a very good job telling stories you’ve never read before. You always come away entertained and learning something new at the same time whenever you pick up one of his books.

Reid, 49, has a new book out called “Hometown Hockey Heroes,” released this past October. This one – a series of inspiring and entertaining stories about local legends who defined the game in Canada – is another great addition to your bookshelf. Once again, he does a great job in both the nostalgia and storytelling department.

“Ken Reid’s writing style feels like shooting the breeze with a good friend,” said Tim Micallef, a fellow Sportsnet host. “In his new book, we find out where Reid’s unmatched passion for the game comes from. Take the trip from Pictou County, Nova Scotia, all the way to Kimberley, British Columbia, and discover the legends that dotted every corner of this country, the kind of stories that helped elevate the game from sport to religion in many parts of Canada.”

In fact, Reid’s latest book was inspired by his childhood adoration for Dana “T-Pot” Johnston, who played Junior C for the Pictou Mariners in Nova Scotia. The book also delves into other hometown heroes, including Robbie Forbes, who arrived in Newfoundland in the mid-80s with NHL dreams and ended up leading the Corner Brook Royals to a Canadian Senior Hockey title. Forbes, it should be noted, is also Sidney Crosby’s uncle; something else I learned from Reid’s book.

I caught up with Reid at the recent Sport Card Expo in Toronto, where we talked about his new book, hockey cards, goalies and why Wayne Gretzky is still the man after all these years.

Clemente Lisi: What’s your new book about?

Ken Reid: This book is from the heart. It’s based on my childhood hockey hero,  Dana “T-Pot” Johnston, who played Junior C for the Pictou Mariners in Nova Scotia. I grew up 12 to 14 hours from the Montreal Forum so if I wanted to see live hockey I went to the Hector Arena every Saturday night in the mid-1980s to watch the Mariners. No. 8 was the guy that captured my heart and his name was “T-Pot.”

CL: Was this the book you always wanted to write?

KR: Not at all. This book kind of came to me. It evolved. It was just one of those things. Once you start writing, you realize you should write what you know. I know small-town hockey so that’s what I wrote about.

CL: What catches your eye most at a card show and at a place like the Expo?

KR: There’s so much stuff. When I come to a show like the Expo, people always ask me, “What are you looking for?” My answer is I don’t know. Whatever catches my eye.

CL: Three of the five players inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2023 were goalies. That, as you know, is unusual. Why don’t goaltenders get a lot of hobby love?

KR: My son plays goalie. So you win as a team and you lose as a goalie. With the exception of Patrick Roy who won a Stanley Cup with the Habs in 1993, you could argue that no goalie has won a Cup for his team since.

CL: Is that true even though you need a hot goalie in the playoffs?

KR: You absolutely need a hot goalie — but not the best goalie. You just need a hot goalie. I think that’s why they don’t get enough hobby love. They should because goalie cards are the best. Go back to the ‘80s. Mike Liut’s 1980-81 card is the best hockey card ever. It just looks cool. They should absolutely get more hobby love.

CL: At the opposite end of the spectrum are scorers like Wayne Gretzky. How come he still gets so much love over two decades after retiring?

KR: Gretzky gets hobby love because he’s the best ever. If you talk to kids from my generation who were 10 years old when they saw Wayne score 50 goals in 39 games in 1981, you pass that on.

CL: What does Gretzky mean to most card collectors?

KR: He’s the Mickey Mantle of hockey cards. He’s multi-generational. He’s a name synonymous with hockey even if you don’t know anything about hockey.

CL: In closing, are you planning another book? Maybe a sequel to “Hometown Hockey Heroes”?

KR: It depends on how the book does. There are so many great stories for another book. I’d love to write it.

Clemente Lisi is a lifelong Rangers fan who first started collecting cards in 1986. He collects both vintage and modern with a focus on rookie cards. Follow him on X/Twitter @ClementeLisi.

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Author: Clemente Lisi

Clemente Lisi is a lifelong Rangers fan who first started collecting cards in 1986. He collects both vintage and modern with a focus on rookie cards. Follow him on Twitter @ClementeLisi.

One thought on “Clemente’s Corner: An Interview with Ken Reid”

  1. Met Ken at Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour here in Brantford. I had already read Hockey Card Stories and told him how much I enjoyed it. He ten let me know that he just got the green light for Hockey Card Stories 2. You should follow him on YouTube , X and IG. He posts a lot of hockey cards content.

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