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Sunday, October 17, 1999


For 20 years he was the exec-producer of Hockey Night In Canada, where he created such cultural icons as Hot Stove and Peter Puck. 

But four Emmys and countless accolades later, Ralph Mellanby's most enduring legacy -- at least in the words of his children Scott and Laura -- is as the man who "inflicted Don Cherry on an unsuspecting nation." 

Don, who admits he can't speak either of Canada's official languages very well, agreed. "Everything I have I owe to Ralph," said the star of Coach's Corner, as he joined Sports Media Canada in honouring Ralph and fellow journalists Red Fisher (Montreal Gazette) and The Sun's own George Gross with Achievement Awards. Although at times the luncheon at the Sheraton seemed more like a roast than a salute, George (The Sun's corporate sports editor) revealed the sports journalism fraternity's darkest little secret: "We'd do it for free -- heck! I'm almost there now." 

Illustration: 10 photos by Trisha Hickey 

1. Red Fisher and Expedite Plus CEO Victor Deschenes. 

2. THE MAN WHO DISCOVERED DON CHERRY ... Sports producer Ralph Mellanby celebrates with son Scott (captain of the NHL's Florida Panthers) wife Janet, and daughter Laura, CTV Sports Group senior dir. of programming. 

3. VIPs ... Sun Media prez Paul Godfrey and former Lt.-Gov. Lincoln Alexander. 

4. NHL GREAT ... Former Leafs coach Red Kelly. 

5. Leafs owner Steve Stavro flanked by wife Sally and Elizabeth Gross. 

6. David Crombie and Maclean's sports editor James Deacon. 

7. WAY TO GO, GEORGE! ACHIEVEMENT AWARD ... Honouree George Gross is flanked by son George Jr., a former Olympic water polo team member, and daughter Elizabeth. 

8. Luncheon co-chair/Maclean's senior writer Jane O'Hara and Sen. Frank Mahovlich. 

9. CBC's Hockey Night In Canada analyst Don Cherry gives the party a thumbs up. 

Copyright 1999, The Toronto Sun Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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