If you grew up in the eighties — or even in the nineties — the era of instant-access television wasn’t a concept during your formative years. So chances are, you spent at least a portion of your childhood sitting around the TV with your family watching Alex Trebek guide trivia whiz kids through his bright blue board of questions on Jeopardy!.
So while millions of Americans took to the streets in celebration on Saturday following the official media calling of the 2020 Presidential election in favor of Democratic candidate Joe Biden, that joy was dampened more than a bit not even 24 hours later — when the long-standing game show confirmed that Trebek had passed away at home with his family following his battle with pancreatic cancer.
Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex. pic.twitter.com/Yk2a90CHIM— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 8, 2020
Trebek was a North American game show icon thanks to his long-standing role as host of Jeopardy!, but he also served as one of Canada’s most benevolent public figures during his nearly four decades spent in the public eye. And as a native of Sudbury, Canada, Trebek was also an avid hockey fan — meaning that his death not only brought millions to Twitter to mourn his death, but brought NHL teams and fans alike into the conversation to remember his best moments in the sport.
He most recently made draft night particularly special for German-born player Tim Stützle, who had his name announced Jeopardy!-style by Trebek himself in a special video made for the Ottawa Senators as they selected Stützle third overall:
RIP Alex Trebek— Sporting News Canada (@sportingnewsca) November 8, 2020
Just last month he announced the third overall pick in the NHL Draft.pic.twitter.com/An3nDE6Eq1
Although Trebek never got to meet the player he announced, it didn’t stop the player himself from sharing a sweet note upon learning of Trebek’s passing:
His legacy was honored by dozens of NHLers and teams across North America, with everyone from PK Subban to Gary Bettman chiming in to mourn the long-standing legend:
Alex Trebek was a fighter, a gentleman, and a legend. Just like many fans, I also enjoyed watching jeopardy growing up. I’m happy I got to meet the man. Sending love to Alex’s family. RIP ❤️ pic.twitter.com/kNsv3VNzQw— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) November 8, 2020
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on the passing of Alex Trebek. pic.twitter.com/w3fPlDBLdu— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 8, 2020
“In a politically torn, culturally divided and socially splintered America, there was one thing nearly everyone could agree on: Alex Trebek was awesome.”
To read more about just how important Trebek was to generations, take a look at this touching piece on what he meant to the world. [SF Gate]
And, just to give you some extra feels, here’s a clip of the last Jeopardy! winner while Trebek was hosting the show:
Alex's impact is immeasurable. Thank you for sharing, Burt! pic.twitter.com/XgGGwJ8GlH— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 6, 2020
In other hockey (but still current events)-related news, the presidential election wasn’t immune to hockey getting involved.
In an ugly way, former Canucks and Penguins depth forward Tom Sestito came under fire when he responded to president-elect Joe Biden’s uplifting election acceptance tweet with predictions of his impending death:
Sestito, who was last seen in 2018 on an unsuccessful pro tryout deal for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, has since retired from the game and had seemed to have largely slipped away into obscurity.
He opted to make his triumphant* return to Twitter after a nearly two-year hiatus, though, to go on a retweeting spree regarding outgoing President Donald Trump’s seemingly-baseless allegations that the election was rigged. He followed that up with his ill-advised tweet about Biden’s future health, then doubled down in an onslaught of responses to disappointed and upset hockey fans that ranged from mockery of looks to barbs about people’s Twitter follower count. He finished up with a particularly cringe-worthy comment relating his scientific ‘ability’ to determine that the president-elect is just weeks away from dying of dementia to a transphobic comment about gender identification:
Kind of like two genders right?— Tom Sestito (@TomSestito23) November 8, 2020
(For clarity: gender and sex are officially defined as two different measures entirely. Gender is a socially-constructed way of presenting oneself to the world, of which there are dozens of different titles and forms that span the spectrum; sex is the biological identification of an individual based on their genetic chromosomal makeup. Although one might assume that Sestito’s barb means he wasn’t aware of this difference, his statement would still be inaccurate even if he was referring to sex; although the majority of individuals are born with either 46XX [female] or 46XY [male] chromosomes, a handful out of every 1,000 live births are born with variances. From monosex chromosomal variances [46X or 46Y] to sex polysomies containing three or more sex chromosomes and XX/XY mutations, the world boasts anywhere from thousands to millions of individuals who don’t fall on the binary sex spectrum. To learn more about sex, gender identity, and how to normalize trans and intersex acceptance, visit The Trevor Project.)
*Not actually triumphant at all
To end on a high note, though, Gritty — the Philadelphia Flyers’ iconic and incredibly bizarre mascot — made a name for himself during the election thanks to his inexplicable draw by the left as a symbol of resistance.
The memes came fast, furious, and absolutely glorious:
Like, come on.
This, in itself, was fun enough — but what really cemented Gritty in history, forever tied to the 2020 US Presidential Election — was the fact that legitimate news outlets in Europe had to take the time to explain just who the eff he was to the legions of baffled overseas onlookers. And really, it doesn’t get much better than seeing a headline in a French political article entitled “C’est Quoi Gritty?”
In there French media questions abound pic.twitter.com/KoPDGIaaYT— Shaanan Cohney (@shaananc) November 7, 2020
“Gritty est devenue la coqueluche du mouvement antifasciste et est omniprésente sur les réseaux sociaux et dans les manifestations anti-Trump”. What a sentence. 2020, folks!