If you were to ask anyone who knew Warren Woods — or "Woodsy" as many called him — about his character, they would tell you the longtime Regina sports broadcaster was the same person on the air and off, a close colleague says.
Woods died on Wednesday after about a two-month battle with COVID-19. He was 66.
For years, Craig Adam covered sports with Woods at STV, which is now Global Regina. And even after going their separate ways (Adam into real estate and Woods into radio broadcasting) he said they remained close.
"There aren't many coworkers that you end up being best friends with, but that was Warren," Adam said with a light chuckle. "We used to always reminisce about the stories — and they were always the same stories, all the time, but they were such good memories that we would always have some amazing laughs."
'He connected with everybody'
Adam wasn't the only one drawn to Woods, he noted; many others were, too.
"He just had this likable attitude and this lovingness about him that everyone wanted to be his friend," Adam said. "I could not go anywhere with Woodsy for, like, five minutes; it would be an hour because he wanted to talk to everybody and everybody wanted to talk to him. That's just the kind of impact he had with everyone that he met."
For Woods, life was about connection. And that connection began with covering local sports — from the high school and university levels to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
"He connected with everybody and he connected with all genres of people — from young to old, to all kinds of sports. I think that that's what he will be remembered for: touching so many different people in so many different facets of life," Adam said.
He added the tributes pouring in on social media are a reflection of that.
"Those stories of people growing up watching him on TV … that's who they went to bed with every night at 11 p.m. — that 'This is Sportsline with Warren Woods!' That's what they remember," he said. "And those are cherished memories by a lot of people. That's why I think he's had this profound effect on people across the country."
Outpouring of tributes online
In the wake of Woods's passing, many fans, friends, colleagues, politicians, athletes and sports organizations have spoken out on social media to pay their respects.
"I am saddened to hear of the passing of one of Saskatchewan's most popular sports broadcasters, Warren Woods. Saskatchewan lost a great friend today. For this night and only for Woodsy... Go Leafs," Premier Scott Moe, an Oilers fan, tweeted out Wednesday evening.
"Thank you for all the memories," the Regina Pats hockey team also wrote on Twitter. "Your tremendous passion for sports and the Queen City won't be forgotten."
"'Woodsy' covered the Saskatchewan Roughriders for more than three decades and his passion for local sports was unmatched. We will miss his smiling face at Mosaic Stadium," the football club wrote in a statement as well.
Talking to Woods's children, Adam said they're proud of the legacy their father is leaving behind.
"Nicole and Chris are also grateful for the outpouring of support Warren has received from across the country over the last seven weeks. It's comforting for them to know how many people cared about their dad," Woods's family wrote in a statement.
'COVID is real'
Earlier this month, Adam said it had appeared Woods' had "turned a corner" in his recovery.
A GoFundMe page was subsequently set up by Woods's friends to help pay for the medical supports he would have needed once home from the hospital.
In roughly a day, the fundraiser's goal of $50,000 was eclipsed.
However, in the weeks that followed, Adam said Woods' condition "took a turn for the worse," and it left many — including himself — in shock.
"It kind of proves the point that COVID is real; it affects people and it affects everybody differently," Adam said. "A lot of people will say, 'Well, it can't happen to me.' But it can."