Newfoundland Politics & Hockey

In 1972 I had returned home following three years in Africa to teach at the MUN School of Business but had been dragooned by Dave Mercer to work that summer on COGAP, the committee reorganizing the public service following the PC ouster of the Smallwood administration. Half the committee were MUN colleagues and all were MUN graduates except for Jim Channing, the Chair and Head of the NFLD Public Service who had articled as a lawyer.


The Committee and consultants had worked and met steadily through the summer and into September. (and eventually worked up ’till Christmas.) That schedule conflicted with the Canada/Soviet Hockey series and especially the famous “Henderson Goal” Game at the end of September. Our meetings at the Confederation Building that month were regularly punctuated by roars and cheers of the staff watching and listening to the games in the Building. Poor Jim Channing would squirm and grimace each time he knew he had missed seeing a key play or goal. But he was a model of a British bureaucrat disciplined, honest and duty bound to stay the course. But, finally, I believe during a ruckus and fight just before the Henderson goal he could stand it no longer and abruptly adjourned our meeting and rushed out to watch the game in a flurry of papers and documents.

Bob Olivero
former MUN Fellow, Channing Chair in Public Policy.

(Editors Note: James Channing was Clerk of the Executive Council of Newfoundland, from 1955 to 1978)

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