The Voice of St. Lawrence - Don Turpin



St. Lawrence native and long time resident Don Turpin has accumulated an amazing 57 year broadcasting career. Don, born in 1929 , became a media personality in 1946 at the tender age of 16. He was initially hired as a news correspondent for VOCM after they expanded their news coverage from St. Johnís to the Burin Peninsula. Don Turpinís work ethic resembles that of a work -alcoholic. His full time employment over the years shows that he has had five years working in the fishery, seven years experience in the mining field and twenty-five years as an employee with the Town of St. Lawrence. Don has expressed that his true love, the media, is "my record of enjoyment."
Don contributes his longevity in broadcasting to his love of the subject and the support that his wife Suzanne has given him over the years.

Soccer Credentials

Oh yes! Don Turpin played soccer! He said, "I wasnít the greatest. I could hold my own, but it was very hard to make the team. You only carried 11 players back then". But due to a serious leg injury which occurred when Don played in a game at Lamaline, his playing days became numbered.
In 1950, Don became involved with soccer at the executive level. For the past 50 plus years, Don has served as a public relations officer for the St. Lawrence and the Burin Peninsula Soccer Association. During this time, he has also held various executive positions such as president, secretary and treasurer for the St. Lawrence

Soccer Association.

In the 1960ís, Don started contributing Burin Peninsula sports items to "The Daily News" and to the regional newspaper, "The Post", now called "The Southern Gazette". Don still contributes various sports items to both of these newspapers.
When "The Evening Telegram" chose a panel to select Newfoundlandís top soccer players, Don Turpin was asked to assist with the selection committee as it was felt his expert analysis was certainly of value. In 1977, he was instrumental with the public relations during the hosting of the National Challenge Cup Soccer in the town of St. Lawrence. It was a conversation that Don Turpin had at this tournament with Eric King, executive secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association that Eric singled out Donís outstanding efforts and called St. Lawrence "The Soccer Capital of Canada".
Since beginning broadcasting soccer games over the VOCM network, he has done colour commentary at every provincial soccer championship game. On three occasions Don accompanied the Laurentians to their national championship: Toronto, Ontario ( 1967 ), Calgary, Alberta( 1976 ), and Kitchener, Ontario ( 1979) . He was instrumental in assisting the local radio station with the broadcasting of these games.
For the past ten soccer seasons Don has been working closely with Doug Redmond in the preparation of the provincial statistics for the Provincial Challenge Cup Soccer League. His voice is still heard regularly on the CHCMís morning sports-cast and every Sunday evening at 5 pm the Challenge Cup Weekend round-up is aired.

Shocked!

In 1985, Don was elected to the St. Lawrence Soccer Hall of Fame. In 1986, he was elected to the Burin Peninsula Soccer Hall of Fame. I am totally shocked to find out that Don Turpin has not been inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Hall of Fame. If Don Turpin doesnít deserve this honour , then who does? Don certainly has contributed to Newfoundland soccer as much as any one individual in the builderís category. On this matter I would like to conclude, "Itís long overdue".

True Blue

Although Don is there to carry local, regional and provincial news reports, sports scores and sports stories, it is no secret that Don Turpin loves the town of St. Lawrence, the sport of soccer and the Laurentians.
He considers it a treat to have been able to have watched so many great teams and all-star players perform. He refers to Wils Molloy as the greatest, although he feels Bob Kelly, Herb Slaney, Bill Slaney, Reg Farrell, Albert Kettle, Alfred Giovinnini, Gus Tarrant, Norm Kelly, Alonzo Walsh, Cyril Quirke, and Frank Tobin were all great players too.
When questioned about the old time goalies, Turpin felt that it was Louie Kelly who would edge out the Laurentians Charlie Banfield, Tommy Turpin, Mike Handrigan, Mike Quirke and Bob Slaney.
It appeared to me that I was mesmerizing Don when I keep asking him, "Who was the best?" Maybe in all honesty, it was to hard for him to answer. Don feels that soccer, as it is played today, is completely different than the old days. I was told that it was no big deal to have a few drinks before a game back then. My reply was, "Yes, Iíve coached a few teams like that myself!" He just laughed.
Transportation to out of town games was provided by an old pick-up truck. The players would all jump in the box and on certain occasions someone would throw in an bale of hay to comfort the players on their ride. He referred to the old 5 - 3 - 2 system , where a team would use five forwards, three halfbacks and two fullbacks, a more of a "slog and run" game. The fields were much smaller with a lot of goals scored. The players were very rough, with no such thing as a disciplinary card handed out. Now, with the bigger soccer fields and a more defensive 4 - 4 - 2 system being played, players are better skilled and more physically fit. Today there is more strategic planning done by the coaches with less and less goals being scored. Currently the referees have more control. Don concluded, "I still love the game."

Respected By All

Over the course of Donís career, he is referred to as "The Voice of the Common Man." Here are some quotes given by some respected individuals on "Mr. Soccer"
Clayton Welsh (NLSA President) "Mr. Turpin is a lifelong sports enthusiast and broadcaster. His dedication to sports is to be commended."
Russ Murphy (CHCM Station Manager) "Don has had a close association with VOCM for almost 45 years. Besides the soccer coverage, Don has served his community as goodwill ambassador and has contributed substantially to the pride and well being of his hometown. In the media fraternity, he is affectionately known as "Mr. Soccer."
Len Slaney ( NLSA - Hall of Famer ) "Don Turpin has been called Mr. Sportís Media in practically every community on the Burin Peninsula. Through out our life long friendship, I have seen his enthusiasm for broadcasting continuously grow. I guess thatís what keeps Don Newfoundlands number one soccer personality."
Newman Barrlett (PBSA President) "Don, for a long number of years, has been instrumental in keeping sports alive on the Burin Peninsula by his reporting and involvement."
George Macvicar (Editor-Southern Gazette) "Don has always been a friend to the sporting community. He has gone out of his way to make sure regular and spectacular accomplishments by local and provincial athletes are reported."
Wade Rowsell (Mayor of St. Lawrence) "Don has always been committed in promoting the cultural achievements of sports, teams and individuals throughout the Burin Peninsula. His sports accomplishment by action and deed has truly been inspiring - he is a living legend."