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HIGH ACHIEVERS: Hugh Fraser, Ed Ratushny, Bob McKeown appointed to Order of Canada

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

Three prominent National Capital Region citizens, who not only had sterling professional careers but also contributed to Ottawa’s rich sports fabric, celebrated the close of 2021 in a special manner.

Olympic sprinter Hugh Fraser and women’s hockey advocate Ed Ratushny, who are both pillars in the capital’s legal community, and former Ottawa Rough Riders offensive lineman Bob McKeown of Chelsea, an award-winning investigative journalist, have received the Order of Canada.

On Dec. 29, Governor-General Mary Simon announced 135 appointments to one of the country’s highest civilian honours, which started in 1967.

The Honourable Justice Hugh L. Fraser, O.C., and Edward J. Ratushny, O.C., O.Ont, Q.C., were named as officers, while Robert (Bob) Duff McKeown was recognized as a member. For Ratushny, becoming an officer was a promotion within the Order of Canada.

Fraser’s entry into the Order of Canada community was for “his transformative contributions to Canadian sport as an internationally recognized expert in sports law and as a former Olympian.”

Before entering a 40-year commitment to the field of justice, Fraser was one of Canada’s fastest sprinters in the 1970s. He was a member of Canada’s national track and field team from 1971 to 1980 and won 13 national championship titles.

He competed in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and anchored the Canadian men’s 4×100-metre relay team of Hugh Spooner, Marvin Nash and Albin Dukowski through the heats and semifinals to an eighth-place finish in the final. Fraser also reached the quarterfinals of the 200 metres.


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His track and field resume also included the 1975 Pan American Games, where he won a relay bronze medal, a fourth-place relay result at the 1978 Commonwealth Games and the 1979 World University Games.

After serving as a lawyer in private practice, he was appointed as judge to the Ontario Court of Justice in 1993. He sat on the bench for 25 years, overseeing hundreds of trials and mediations, before advancing to regional senior justice for the East Region of Ontario, where he managed and advised more than 70 judges and justices of the peace.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne has benefited from Fraser’s legal knowledge for the past 25 years, a time when he served as either sole or panel arbitrator in dozens of international sports-related disputes around the world.

The first acting commissioner for Athletics Canada, Fraser also brought his arbitrating skills to the National Hockey League Players’ Association, the International Association of Athletics Federations, the LPGA, as well as the Summer Olympics and Commonwealth Games from 1996-2016.

Originally appointed to the Order of Canada 30 years ago, Ed Ratushny was honoured this time for “his contributions to the field of administrative law and for his leadership in sports arbitration and law.”

Ratushny was admitted to the bar in 1966, after graduating from the University of Saskatchewan. He was a long-time law professor and professor emeritus in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa.

He also acted as an arbitrator and served as an advisor and counsel to federal government ministers, departments, tribunals and agencies on human rights, labour, environmental, transportation, competition, immigration, refugee, military and criminal law issues.

Away from the halls of justice, Ratushny had a love of hockey. If he wasn’t watching his children excel in the sport, he was serving as an NHLPA-registered player agent.

His daughter Kim won a gold medal for Canada at the first world women’s hockey championship in 1990 in Ottawa. His son Dan, who was drafted by Winnipeg in 1989 and played one NHL game with Vancouver, captured an Olympic silver medal at the 1992 Games. His younger son Gregory played for the Ottawa Junior Senators before his untimely death in a car accident.

Ed Ratushy was considered “a low-scoring left winger,” but he contributed significantly off the ice as a member of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association board of regents, as a minor hockey coach for many years and as an advocate for developing competitive hockey for girls and women in Ottawa.

He also served as an independent adjudicator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.

When you look at Bob McKeown’s list of achievements, he has two Emmys, three Geminis and one Grey Cup.

As a young boy, McKeown had two ambitions – follow in the footsteps of his journalist father and play football for the Ottawa Rough Riders. He accomplished both goals with high marks.

Playing centre for the Rough Riders from 1971-75, he competed in 70 games, celebrated a Grey Cup victory in 1973 and was a CFL East all-star in 1974.

A Yale University graduate, McKeown got his first taste of journalism while he played for the Rough Riders. Three times a week, he would file stories as a CBC radio correspondent.

McKeown became an investigative journalist in 1981, when he joined the CBC’s The Fifth Estate show. In 1990, he moved to NBC’s Dateline for eight years before joining CBS News for five years. He returned to The Fifth Estate as a co-host in 2002 and continues to tell fascinating stories.

He earned the Order of Canada for “his excellence in investigative journalism for television.”

McKeown has won three Geminis, including the award for best sports program or series in 1988 for The Boys on the Bus, which featured Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers hockey team.

“It’s humbling,” McKeown told CBC associate producer Richard Raycraft about his Order of Canada. “The more I’ve realized what it stands for and the kinds of people … the breadth of the company – it’s humbling. It’s a very nice thing to have happened at this point.”

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 48 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.

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