A Tribute To Ted Hunt

Posted by Tom Locke on December 17th, 2023 filed in General

The Circle of Life has become a harsh reality for me this year. And I suspect I am not alone given the many friends and colleagues of my vintage. How we deal with the loss of loved ones varies. I have chosen to do in the form of reflecting on the fond memories/experiences I had with those who are no longer present.

I had the honor to speak recently at the celebration of life of my good friend and creative writing colleague, Dr. Ted Hunt (PHD – History). In short, Ted made his life count and impacted others throughout his amazing sports and academic career.

Ted was a gifted athlete who excelled in rugby, skiing, football, golf, lacrosse, and boxing. His accomplishments have been recognized by inductions into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Rugby Hall of Fame, the B.C. Rugby Hall of Fame, and the U.B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. In addition, he was B.C. Athlete of the Year in 1957 and U.B.C.’s Bobby Gaul Trophy recipient in 1958 (awarded in recognition of sportsmanship, leadership, and achievement).

A Tribute To Ted

December 14, 2023

Good afternoon. My name is Tom Locke.

It’s hard to believe that many of us were in this same room ten years ago celebrating Ted’s 80th birthday.

I grew up in Toronto and like many young boys in the late 50s and early 60s, I collected trading cards – hockey and baseball dominated but I also collected football cards … and in 1959 I was introduced to Ted Hunt via cardboard [Pull out Ted’s card].

Little did I know that 13 years later, in 1972, Ted would be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in the athlete category for multi-sports.

An all-round athlete definitely defines Ted who excelled at an elite level, not only in football, but in rugby, lacrosse, skiing, and boxing. He was also a superb golfer and an accomplished banjo player.

In 1984 I moved from Toronto to Vancouver and eventually became involved with the BC Sports Hall of Fame, joining its board in 1992. I was on that board for the next 20 years. During that time I had the glorious opportunity of sitting on the induction committee and chaired this committee for a couple of years. In 2005 I chaired the committee that inducted the 1964 Vancouver Carlings Lacrosse team who won the Mann Cup that year.

The Vancouver Carlings were a powerhouse, having won the Mann Cup in 1961 and 1963 as well. And, Ted was a prominent player on those teams.

During many BC Sports Hall of Fame events I would chat with honored members who were in attendance. On one occasion, Ted came up to me and said, “I understand you’re in the film and entertainment industry. I’ve just written a book and I was wondering if you would have a look at it to see if it had the potential of being turned into a movie.”

That book was, “In The Company Of Heroes.” [Show book.} This was the beginning of our business/creative relationship. Extremely well written and based on historical facts from the first quarter of the 20th century, the book was formally published in 2011.

As we started the creative process, we soon realized that we needed a different name for a potential film as there were a number of books with the same title and a movie titled “Company Of Heroes” (2013). I also reminded Ted of Bruce Springsteen’s famous quote, “It took me 12 years to become an overnight success.”

What evolved from the book was a treatment for a feature film titled “Best Kept Secret” – a title chosen because of what one discovers that was really going on in Europe and Russia during the early part of the 20th Century. This soon morphed into a four part mini-series in order to not only properly tell the story and share its richness but to also answer the marketplace who, via streaming networks such as Netflix, were into limited series.

Given the fact that most of the story takes place in Europe and Russia, we took on a European partner, Peter Claridge, a well-known British producer who lived in Munich, Germany and was well versed in finance.

During this period of time, financing hit a lull in Europe and we sensed that perhaps there was just too much going on in the story. So we narrowed down the number of characters and focused on something that the world stage was somewhat familiar with – the legendary Russian Romanov Family.

What resulted was “The Romanov Ring.” Ted embraced the idea and did yet another treatment rewrite with me and my writing partner, Dale Wolfe. We ended up with a solid and tight 6 episode mini-series. I reached out to a Swiss producer I knew who took it to the Cannes Festival but found out there wasn’t an appetite for our project. In November 2022, I presented our treatment to a top Russian production company who I knew well but they could not even think of entertaining some type of co-production due to the world’s negative reaction to Putin’s antics.

Timing in this business to get a film project “green lit” is key and we ran into a number of obstacles along the way including the downturn in financing, being told our project wasn’t the right fit, COVID, and Putin’s policies making Russia persona not grata.

Despite these setbacks, numerous rewrites and repositioning the book for the marketplace, Ted was unflappable. These roadblocks didn’t stop Ted. He would come up with other ideas and intently listen to suggestions.

In working with Ted, I gained a great appreciation for his relentless commitment to whatever he took on. If a dictionary had pictures beside the meanings of the words, then Ted’s picture would be beside the word “tenacity.”

During one of our collaborative breaks,  Ted invited me to golf with him in one of the Tuesday night socials here at Pt. Grey. A bogey golfer at best, I’ll never forget spraying one of my tee shots. Ted found my ball for me.

I then turned to him and I asked, “What should I hit from here?” With a deadpan look Ted replied, “I don’t know … I’ve never been here before.” He then gave me one of his big infectious grins and patted me on the back. That was all I needed.

What I have shared with you today is just the tip of the iceberg of “Tom & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Reflecting on this journey with Ted and his compassion for others, I can truly say that I was “In The Company of a Hero.”

Tom Locke

Leave a Comment