The nickname started as a joke on a Maui golf course, a play on the schtick of an annoying Hawaiian radio announcer who knew it all.
“The Yankees beat the Tigers 5-3—how do I know? Because I’m Doctor Sport!”
Golfing buddies tagged Greg Douglas with the moniker for eighteen holes that day and couldn’t wait to spread the joke back home. The funny thing is the nickname stuck.
Mention the name Dr. Sport in any Vancouver sports circle and most, if not all, have crossed paths with the well-travelled Douglas, whose multi-faceted media career spans four-plus decades. The man who came west in 1966 with a Smith-Corona typewriter, $85 in his pocket, and knew nary a soul might today possess the most connected little black book in Vancouver sports.
Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Douglas was a promising goaltender battling future Hall of Famer Tony Esposito for ice time in the junior ranks. Luckily he stumbled upon a back-up plan. Smuggling a portable radio in his lunchbox to school, he got caught listening to Don Larsen’s 1956 World Series perfect game. His punishment? Provide game reports over the PA to the entire school, his first sportscast. Douglas wanted only to be a sports reporter from that moment on.
His first job doing an 11pm broadcast for the Sault’s CKCY paid fifty cents an hour and involved taking out the garbage at shift’s end. Only on-air for fifteen minutes, it actually paid twelve-and-a-half cents a show. By 1962 he worked his way up to sports editor of the Sault Daily Star, at age eighteen the youngest sports editor of a daily newspaper in Canada.
After joining Broadcast News in Toronto, Douglas pestered legendary Toronto Star sports editor Milt Dunnell enough that when the Vancouver Sun’s Erwin Swangard came east looking for new blood, Dunnell put his name forward. Coming west in 1966, Douglas became the Sun’s baseball and hockey beat writer. His first break in radio on the coast came with CKWX, hired by Jim Robson. Douglas joined the Canucks as public relations director in 1968 and stayed until 1977 climbing to assistant general manager.
Later, Douglas branched out with his own sports marketing and communications company, Greg Douglas Enterprises, promoting local sports events. An early pioneer of the multi-form media personality covering sports for various radio, television, newspaper, and magazine outlets simultaneously—CKVU, BCTV, KVOS, TV Week, Sports Only, Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Vancouver Sun, CKLG, CKWX, JRFM, 600AM—the list of outlets from which he dispensed his views is as impressive as it is long. From witnessing the infamous 1966 Capilano Stadium riot to stumbling upon a despondent Cassius Clay sitting on a Toronto stairwell one rainy night to developing a forte for scooping his peers on breaking stories, Douglas travelled the continent covering the biggest events of the day. Over the years many young individuals in the sports broadcasting industry have benefitted from his mentorship.
With his weekly Sun column nearing its fifteenth year and the 2010 release of the Canucks at Forty book which he co-authored, Douglas isn’t slowing down either. The good Dr. Sport will be providing British Columbians with their sports dose for some time to come.
Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.