Late ESPN Host John Saunders Played Hockey for Western Michigan University
The sports world was shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of ESPN host John Saunders who died today (August 10, 2016). He is also being remembered by Western Michigan University as he earned a scholarship to play hockey at the Kalamazoo school.
The news was reported on ESPN by co-anchor Hannah Storm,
Saunders hosted studio and play-by-play programming. He covered college football, basketball and the NHL for the network, in addition to anchoring SportsCenter. He was also host of The Sports Reporters.
Born in Canada, Saunders was an all-star defenseman in the junior hockey leagues of Montreal. He played at Western Michigan and Ryerson Polytechnical in Toronto before becoming one of the most prominent broadcasters of his time.
Saunders was a founding member of The V Foundation for Cancer Research and served on the board of directors.
John Saunders Western Michigan University Connection
John Saunders was a native of Canada who earned a scholarship to play hockey with the Western Michigan University Broncos. His biography on Wikipedia includes,
Saunders was an all-star defenseman in the Montreal junior leagues, received a scholarship and played hockey at Western Michigan University from 1974–76. His brother, Bernie Saunders, also played hockey at Western Michigan during this time. The university's official hockey media guide lists Saunders as having played limited time for the Broncos in that time frame.
While John saw limited playing time, his brother Bernie, who went on to play in the NHL was a star for the Broncos,
The Saunders brothers played college hockey at Western Michigan University in the 1970s along with future New York Rangers GM Neil Smith.
John finished his career at Ryerson in Toronto where he was an Ontario University Athletic Association All Star for the Rams. Bernie finished his WMU career with 76 goals, 78 assists and 154 points in 4 seasons. Leading WMU in goals 3 times and twice being recognized as the team's MVP.
Bernie captained the WMU hockey team his senior year and is now in the Western Michigan University Athletic Hall of Fame. There is also a banner honoring him at Lawson Arena, the home rink of WMU hockey.