Joe Bowen

Joe Bowen - CKSOBirthplace
Sudbury, Ontario

Birth Date
April 5, 1951

First Media Job
1973 - CKSO Radio & TV Sudbury, Ontario

Joe Bowen is a true example of home grown talent having established himself in high regard for his accomplishments and character.  Joe was born in Sudbury and attended Sudbury High School while he played hockey and football.  He was a member of the Copper Cliff Redmen Northern Ontario Peewee Championship Hockey Club in 1967.

Joe attended Sudbury Secondary School.  Post secondary education brought him to the University of Windsor where he "caught the broadcasting bug".  Following graduation Bowen came back to Sudbury to handle play-by-play on CKSO AM for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League.  In addition to broadcasting the games, Joe held down the position of Sports Director at the station anchoring various sportscasts throughout the day.  Nearly eight years later, Joe made the move to Halifax to broadcast the Nova Scotia Voyageurs of the American Hockey League.

It was in October of 1982 when Joe Bowen, now in Toronto, became the voice of the Toronto Maple Leafs, broadcasting over 3,000 Leaf games.  Joe and Harry Neale, former coach, general manager and hockey broadcaster, teamed up to do broadcast games on television with either T.S.N., or Rogers Sportsnet. With other games including playoffs, Joe teamed with Jim Ralph on the Mojo radio network.  Joe also serves as host of Molson Canadian Leaf Classic games on Leafs' TV Digital Channel.

During this time Joe has acted as the Master of Ceremonies or Guest Speaker at hundreds of banquets and golf tournaments some of which include the Conn Smythe dinner, London Sports Celebrity Dinner, Chatham Sports Celebrity Dinner and the Sudbury Sports Celebrity Induction Dinner and also at home each year, the Brian Savage Golf Tournament.  The list also includes all of the Meet the Leafs luncheons, Have a Heart dinners, Maple Leaf Casino nights and Maple Leaf Alumni and team golf tournaments.  Joe has been M.C. for the popular Bell Mobility Golf Tournament.

Joe Bowen has a special place in his heart when it comes to supporting leukemia research.  It hit too close to home when his son Sean was diagnosed with leukemia, but was able to beat the disease.  So it's not surprising to find Joe acting as Guest Speaker and M.C. for the Annual UFCW Leukemia Celebrity Golf Classic, which is now named in his honour.  His trademark “Holy Mackinaw!” exclamation is now emblazoned on a Leaf T-shirt with proceeds going to leukemia research.

Chris Zelkovich, Sports Media Columnist of the Toronto Star, stated in an article published, October 3, 2007, quoted Joe as saying, "I approach my job as a fan rather than as a broadcaster or a critic."  Bowen also stated to Zelkovich, that contrary to popular belief, Bowen did not steal the phrase “Holy Mackinaw!” from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.  Rather he says, he took it from his father who used it all the time instead of swearing.  Where his father got the term is unknown to Joe.  In a March 2017 CBC interview, Joe recalled as a kid, he would hear his father often make use of the phrase, but he died before entering high school and he never did learn of its origin.

Heavy involvement as coach with minor hockey and baseball spans over nearly 15 years.  Joe is credited with guiding the Markham Thunder to an All-Ontario Minor Novice Title in 1990.  He was also a co-coach of the Thunder on the All-Ontario Novice Team in 1993.  He managed the Markham Mariners to an all Ontario Peewee baseball title.

Joe was inducted into the Sudbury Kinsmen Sports Hall of Fame in June of 1999, and received the Fred Sgambati award from the Canadian Childrens Foundation in 1988.

Joe Bowen reached his 3,000 Leaf games calling play-by-play in March of 2017.  The game was a win for the Leafs beating the Detroit Red Wings 3-2.  On November 12, 2018 the Hockey Hall of Fame inducted Joe into the media wing and presented him with the 2018 Foster Hewitt Memorial Award which is presented to members of the radio and television industry for their outstanding contributions to their profession and the game of hockey.

In an interview just prior to his 3,000th game, Bowen commenting on his future said he would "like to do at least five or six more years".  True to his words, in 2018, Joe and and Jim Ralph signed a five-year radio deal with TSN and Sportsnet. Not surprisingly, Bowen is hoping to call a Stanley Cup final someday!

Joe's family includes Jannine and their four sons, David, Liam, Derek and Sean.

More Career Highlights
Did blow-by-blow of Muhammad Ali's last fight
Three Toronto Rock World Championship Games
Trevor Berbick vs Larry Holmes World Title Fight
Appears on Molson Canadian Leaf Hockey (Play-by-play)
Inducted into the Sudbury Kinsmen Sports Hall of Fame in June of 1999
Received the Fred Sgambati award from the Canadian Children's Foundation in 1988

Special Interests/Hobbies
Old-timers hockey, slow-pitch, golf, coaching four sons.