Alex Trebek and his connection to hockey

Alex Trebek
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Alex Trebek, the longtime host of “Jeopardy!,” died Sunday at age 80 following a long fight with pancreatic cancer.

Born in Sudbury, Ontario, Trebek was a big-time hockey fan. Growing up he would watch Gordie Howe and the Red Wings as he told Bill Roose of the team’s website in 2009:

“The individual memories have faded,” he said. “But I remember when I was in school in Ottawa I drove to Montreal, got a seat in the Forum, very, very high up at the end of the rink, behind the goal and Gordie came down and took a long shot, just inside the blue line and beat Jacques Plante. I said, ‘OK, that’s great. Right!’ It made the trip worth while.”

Alex Trebek and the 2020 NHL Draft

Last month the Senators asked Trebek, who graduated from the University of Ottawa, to announced Tim Stuetzle as their first pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

“I am deeply sorry to hear about the death of Alex Trebek,” Stuetzle wrote on Instagram Sunday. “I was looking forward to meet the person who drafted me. He shared this unforgettable moment with me and I am very thankful for that. With my deepest condolences. REST IN PEACE MR.TREBEK.”

It wasn’t odd to see Trebek at an NHL game or event. He was part of the “NHL 100” ceremony in Los Angeles in 2017 and presented Nikita Kucherov with the Hart Trophy in 2019.

That wasn’t Trebek’s first NHL Awards experience. He hosted the 1993 event and even showed off his hockey “mullet.”

Hockey in mind when asked about next “Jeopardy!” host

When asked about retirement, Trebek had hockey on his mind when discussing possible “Jeopardy!” host replacements for him. During a 2018 interview with TMZ, he mentioned Kings broadcaster Alex Faust as one option. We’ll see what happens with that, but it wouldn’t be Faust’s first time replacing a legend after taking over the LA play-by-play role from Hall of Famer Bob Miller.

“Jeopardy!” episodes hosted by Trebek will air through Christmas Day 2020.

“Alex was a passionate fan of our game and a true friend of our League,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “He always said ‘yes’ when hockey called. We will miss him and send our condolences to his family and millions of friends and fans.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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