(Gregory Chow photograph for Vancouver Magazine.)
Tom (Sean) Rossiter
Born: 1946 (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Died: January 5, 2015
Sean Rossiter was an aviation enthusiast, an architectural critic, and the most astute observer of City Hall politics in Vancouver in the years he wrote a must-read column for the eponymous city magazine. He was the author or co-author of 19 books, including well reviewed volumes on test pilots, the Beaver, the Otter and Twin Otter. He also wrote an excellent history of Vancouver’s Georgia Hotel.
Less well known was his passion, perhaps obsession, with hockey, which was the subject of 13 of his titles. Several of these were co-written with Paul Carson, a sportscaster. They produced a series of instructional books about how to play hockey, including books on goaltending, power skating, and playing on the power play and while killing penalties.
On his own, Rossiter wrote biographies of Mario Lemieux and Dominik Hasek.
In 2012, received a lifetime achievement award from the Western Magazine Awards Foundation.
Rossiter died a decade after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. One of his final articles, “Bench Strength,” published in 2007, has been hailed as one of his greatest. It details his experience telling his beer-league teammates about his neurodegenerative condition.
“At the time, the only symptom I had was in my right leg,” he wrote. “The joints would go rigid at exactly the same corner every day on my job through Lower Shaughnessy. My play in the nets had declined, too, although there are better-qualified observers who say it was always pretty bad.”