WINNIPEG – Global Winnipeg sports director Joe Pascucci has been living his childhood dream for decades, but it’s time to spend a little time with his own kids, he says.
The Winnipeg sports stalwart has been at the station since 1982, when it was still known as CKND, but he’s spending his last day at work on Thursday.
“It’s time to watch my kids grow up,” he said shortly after announcing his retirement from Global Sports.
Pascucci decided he was going to be a sportscaster when he was eight years old, he said.
“I wanted to be the play-by-play voice of the Toronto Maple Leafs as a kid,” said Pascucci, who grew up in Toronto.
He loved sports and watching sports and would listen to three different radios in the morning as a child.
His first media job was in radio after the all-news station CKO launched.
“I phoned them up and said, ‘Do you need someone to do sports?’ ” said Pascucci, who was a student at Fanshawe College in London, Ont., at the time.
He covered the London Knights and did regional sportscasts and interviews as a volunteer.
His first paying job, which also came while he was a student in 1978, earned him $10.
“I kept the cheque,” he said.
After a few radio jobs, he applied for the position in Winnipeg, but he had no plan to stay long – he was still a Toronto boy and a Maple Leafs fan.
He was ready to come to Winnipeg and take a new last name, common for television personalities with non-Anglophone names at the time.
“I thought it was part of the hiring process,” he said, but in the end he was told it wasn’t required and he kept his now-familiar name.
Pascucci also quickly embraced his new home and said he didn’t even mind the winters.
His most memorable moments at Global have come while covering the big sports stories over the past three decades in Winnipeg.
“The Bombers winning the Grey Cup in 1984,” he said. “It was just amazing how the city and the fans reacted.”
Other highlights include Teemu Selanne’s rookie season, the 1991 Grey Cup, the 1999 Pan Am Games, the 1999 World Junior Hockey Championship and of course, the departure and return of the Winnipeg Jets. The shows Sportsline and the Fox Soccer Report were also highlights of his career.
But one of the charms of working in Winnipeg has been the opportunity to cover athletes who aren’t big stars, because people here care about things like high school basketball stories, he said.
Pascucci has also shared a lot of laughs with a lot of people.
“I love to have fun,” he said. “If I could make people laugh, even if it was at my own expense, it was going to be good for the show.”
And those people are what he’ll miss most about his work at Global.
“It’s not a job. I’m talking sports,” he said.
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