Tears From The Hockey Gods, Not Raindrops, Are Falling On Southern California
December 20, 2010 14 Comments
LOS ANGELES — For most people here in Southern California, the region has been drenched by rain the past few days. But if you are involved with the Los Angeles Kings or Anaheim Ducks, either as part of the teams, a member of the media, or as fan, make no mistake…those drops are not from rain.
No, not rain at all. Rather, the dark clouds reflect sadness and the drops falling from the sky are tears, as the hockey gods, at least, the ones who watch over the Kings and Ducks, are crying.
Graig Woodburn, 50, died on December 19, after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. He covered the Kings and Ducks for the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Associated Press and The Sporting News until a couple of seasons ago, and most recently, he moved to Boston to cover the Boston Bruins for WEEI.com during the 2009-10 season, and to be closer to his family.
His last assignment for WEEI.com was to cover the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft here in Los Angeles last June, when the Bruins had the second overall pick (Tyler Seguin).
The Bruins public relations department will dedicate Woodburn’s press box seat at Boston’s TD Garden to him for the rest of the season.
Woodburn was also an attorney here in the Los Angeles area, specializing in consumer protection and class action law.
There is a better than average chance that if you follow the Kings and/or Ducks, you may not be familiar with Graig’s work. After all, he did not work for the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, or any of the MediaNews Group newspapers, such as the Daily News or Long Beach Press Telegram, all of whom have had beat writers covering the local NHL teams in recent years.
But Graig was right there in the trenches, surprisingly, more often than you might think, given the fact that he was a practicing attorney. But he was often at practices and could always be found at games.
The last time I saw Graig was at a media luncheon where the top ten projected picks in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft were made available for interviews on June 24, 2010, here in Los Angeles. I had the great fortune to sit down to a nice lunch with him, along with colleague Brian Kennedy, who covers the Kings and Ducks for Inside Hockey.
We spent about 45 minutes just shooting the breeze, talking about the Kings and his work covering the Bruins. Graig was his usual positive, upbeat self, joking around and enjoying his work and his life, even though he knew he was fighting the biggest battle of his life.
Graig was always the consummate professional with great integrity, he knew his hockey, and all that showed in his work. Moreover, he was not the kind of journalist who was unwilling to share his knowledge and experience with less experienced writers, nor was he the type who was so wrapped up in himself and his own work that he could not treat others with respect and dignity, or just be genuinely friendly.
That’s the Graig Woodburn that I deeply appreciated and will always remember.
Hockey Writer Graig Woodburn Passes Away – WEEI.com
Graig Woodburn, Hockey Writer, Was 50 – LA Observed
Sturm To Make Kings Debut, Richardson Moves To First Line, And Farewell To A Fellow Scribe – Los Angeles Times
Today’s Notebook, And Other Notes – LAKingsInsider.com
Forsberg Gets Six Points In A Game; And Farewell To A Hockey Scribe I Never Knew – Denver Post
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