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Sports radio legend Bill Powers found dead in Calgary home

Bill Powers

Alberta Sports Hall of Fame & Museum

One of Calgary's best-known sports personalities, radio legend Bill Powers, was found dead in his southwest home Thursday morning along with his wife Donna Lee.

The two long-time Calgarians were discovered when police were called to their home in the Braeside neighbourhood around 5:20 a.m. The homicide unit investigated and recovered a knife.

Police later confirmed that a man at the scene, who was spotted by a passerby, was being questioned after being taken into custody "without incidents."

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Police are not looking for anyone else at this point.

The suspect was known to the victims, Duty Inspector Mike Tillotson said, declining to give further details about the ties between the three.

"We are looking at all those pieces of relationships and who is connected to who."

Calgary police have yet to explain what happened at the Powers' home.

Celebrated for his quick wit and joke-telling abilities, Powers had retired from fulltime radio duty in 2009 after almost 50 years in sports broadcasting and communications. He started work as a news reporter with the Edmonton Journal in 1961 before moving to Calgary for a position with the Albertan newspaper. He was asked to cover the 1965 Canadian figure skating championships and became a full-time sports reporter.

Three years later, he switched to radio and blossomed into both an on-air personality and a sports authority. He also served as media relations man for the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders before joining "CHQR 77, where he was part of the Stampeders' radio broadcasts.

The Stampeders paid tribute to him, noting that even after retirement he often visited McMahon Stadium and continued to serve on the CFL club's Wall of Fame.

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"Bill was a larger-than-life person who brought laughter to everyone around him," Stampeders president Gordon Norrie said in a statement.

"He was an engaged Calgarian in terms of the community and a valuable and contributing member of the Stampeder Football Club. Bill and Donna Lee will be missed."

In 2001, Powers was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

Tony King, the morning news anchor at News Talk 770 who has worked with Powers at a number of stations over the years, called the man "one of a kind."

"If he walked in a room, he could go about 10 steps, he'd have a bunch of friends at his elbows and jokes would be peppering the room," he said. "It was uncanny the way he had the respect and attention of the people in this town."

King said that over Powers' decades of sports reporting, he developed strong relationships with the teams, meaning he could get a story in one phone call that might take other journalists days to get.

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"But the fact that he was friends with people never, ever meant they got a free ride," King said. "If a player did something wrong, you heard about it on the radio and Bill made no apologies for that. All these people had tremendous respect for him."

John Vos, the brand director at News Talk 770 where the radio personality worked until he retired in 2009, said that Powers will be best remembered for his "joke of the day" radio segment and his encyclopaedic knowledge of sports.

Powers also had a trademark line, Vos said. "It didn't matter if you were a pauper or a king, he'd come up to you and say 'how ya doing, partner?'"

Files from Ann Hui and Tu Thanh Ha were used in this report

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Sports writer

Allan Maki is a national news reporter and sports writer based in Calgary. More

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