There are many reasons that all throughout human history we are encouraged to listen to the wisdom of our elders, and little gems like this one uncovered by those who tuned into Don Cherry’s podcast this week are exactly why.
Last week it was sadly announced that Canadian icon Alex Trebek had passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, a moment that caused an outpouring of emotion on social media. It comes as no surprise given just how famous Trebek became thanks in large part to his hit television show Jeopardy! which has been broadcast to nearly every corner of the globe at this point. What you may not know however is that Trebek could very well have never been the host of that show if not but for a strange twist of fate.
On the Grapevine podcast it was revealed by Cherry and his co-host, and son, Tim Cherry, that Trebek had actually tried out for Hockey Night in Canada prior to ever becoming the host of Jeopardy! and in fact had even been one of the finalist to get the job.
"He tried out for Hockey Night in Canada," said Don Cherry.
The move came after the departure of Ward Cornell from the broadcast so I imagine this would have been sometime around 1972 when Cornell officially left HNIC. According to Tim and Don it sounds like it was down to Trebek and Dave Hodge, the man who eventually got the job, and it may have been Trebek who got the job if not for one small detail.
"It came down to three guys and I can't remember the third guy," said Tim Cherry "It was Ted Huff who said 'We can't get Trebek because we can't have people with facial hair' and he had a mustache. So they picked Dave Hodge instead."
Of course Dave Hodge has now become a household name all across Canada and is largely beloved by fans of the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, and as we all know Trebek would go on to accomplish great things in his life, and he did it for a long time while sporting that mustache. Crazy to think that Trebek may have never hosted Jeopardy, and perhaps Dave Hodge would have never made it to HNIC, had it not been for that mustache.