A Front-Row Seat with the Sportswriters Who Sat There

Sit down with host Todd Jones and other sportswriters who knew the greatest athletes and coaches, and experienced first-hand some of the biggest sports moments in the past 50 years. They’ll share stories behind the stories -- some they’ve only told to each other.

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Helene Elliott: “Gretzky was like no one we had seen before.”

Helene Elliott: “Gretzky was like no one we had seen before.”

We’re talking hockey and much more with Helene Elliott, columnist for the Los Angeles Times and one of the most respected writers in the business. She recounts how Wayne Gretzky set 61 NHL records and triggered a hockey boom in LA as an ambassador. She also has a funny tale about the Great One’s fear of flying. Helene tells us why the Stanley Cup is the most difficult trophy to win in sports, how great players rise to the occasion like Messier for the ‘94 Rangers, and what it was like covering the Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Olympics. And hear how Helene overcame barriers faced by female sportswriters to become the first female journalist honored by the Hall of Fame of a major professional sport. Oh, and she has a story about Lenny and Squiggy.

Elliott has been writing for Los Angeles Times since 1989. She was a beat reporter for the Lakers and Angels, then spent many years covering hockey and Olympic sports before becoming a columnist in 2006. Helene has covered 17 Olympics, the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Wimbledon, men’s and women’s World Cup soccer tournaments, and and nearly every Stanley Cup Finals since 1980. She became the first female journalist to be honored with a plaque in the Hall of Fame of a major professional sport in 2005 as winner of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Elmer Ferguson Award, given to writers “who have brought honor to journalism and to hockey.” She won the Best Breaking News Story award from the Associated Press Sports Editors for her story on the labor agreement that ended the NHL lockout in 2005. Her career began at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1977. She moved to New York City in 1979 and wrote for Newsday for the next 10 years before going to the West Coast. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Elliott is a 1977 graduate of the Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, which inducted her into the Medill Hall of Achievement in 2020.

Follow Elliott on Twitter: @helenenothelen

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