Click on the Smitty logo to view the Brian Smith Memorial Golf Tournament Website.
Who was Brian Smith?
Brian was the popular CTV Ottawa sportscaster and former NHL hockey player who was killed leaving his television studio on his way to speak to the Children’s Wish Foundation in 1995. Brian attended the Ottawa Boys Club camp (called Camp Minwassin at the time) as a thirteen year old and won two awards-best athlete and the most courteous camper. Brian later was also a counselor at the camp. The Boys and Girls Club was always his favorite charity. The Camp was renamed to Camp Smitty to honour his great contributions to the Ottawa community in 2001.
Brian also had a long hockey career after being born in Ottawa. Brian played for the Montreal Junior Canadiens, with Hull-Ottawa in the Eastern Pro League, in Europe, in the American hockey league, with the LA Kings and the Minnesota North Stars. When Brian was starring for Hull-Ottawa he was Montreal’s top prospect outside the NHL (when there were only 6 teams) before suffering a fractured skull in a playoff game. Brian's pro career ended with Houston of the WHA.
What made Brian Smith so special to so many people?
After he retired from hockey he was hired at CTV Ottawa (CJOH). In all the newspaper polls to determine Ottawa's most respected sportscaster, Brian was always a run away winner usually with four times as many votes as the second place sportscaster. Brian had a different outlook than probably all other members of the media since he did not sit in the press box to watch the Senator games, when he wasn't hosting their TV broadcasts, but bought his own tickets. He also always sat in the stands at either the 67's or Hull Olympic games. The reason he sat in the stands was because he did not think one got a real picture of a game from the press box, since he felt that the game looked too easy from "on high" and he knew from many years of experience that it is a real tough game to play down on the ice. As a result many hockey fans chatted with Brian at games on a regular basis. Brian was always polite to everyone that approached him.
Besides his daily sportscasts and comments Brian was also the host for three years of Senator TV broadcasts and did the play by play for several games. Earlier Brian was also the host for two years, on Global, of the OHA Game of the week. He also broadcast Ottawa 67's hockey games on radio for one year.
Why did the Senators recognize Brian?
When they started their quest to get a NHL team he was the first and almost only media person to think it was possible and became a strong supporter of the bid. Brian also narrated the video that the Senators presented to the NHL Board of Governors to secure the franchise. The Senators have certainly recognized Brian's place in Ottawa sports history with all their wonderful tributes highlighted by the hanging of a banner to "Brian Desmond Smith, "Smitty"-18 (at the Civic Centre and now at Canadian Tire Place). The press box is also named after Smitty and a portrait with his LA Kings sweater hangs on the 2nd concourse not far from his plaque as a member of the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. Besides his hockey background, Brian also played football in high school where he was an end and a punter, he also played baseball and was a member of the St. Anthony's Servites that were the 1955 Eastern Ontario Baseball Bantam champions. Brian was also an excellent golfer, skier, tennis player, a daily runner and worked out religiously at a health club.
Brian is part of the Smith sports family which includes his father Des, a former NHL defenseman with The Boston Bruins, his uncle Rodger who also played in the NHL and with the Riders, his brother Gary “Suitcase” Smith who was a goalie in the NHL for 14 years, plus his brother Dennis who played college hockey at St. Mary's University as well as his cousin Jim Cain who played CFL football for nine years with the Ottawa Rough Riders. One positive of Brian's tragic murder was the family decision to donate his organs to twelve different people across Canada. Dr. Keon said that Brian had the heart of a 30 year old. Brian had always worked so hard to maintain his physical condition that it was fitting that he could help so many others.
In summary Brian was an Ottawa boy who cared deeply about his city and the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club and always thought that kids benefitted greatly from having easy access to sports and recreation as he had had as a young person growing up in Ottawa.
(Bio of Brian kindly provided by Jim Cain ... thanks Jim!)