Remembering Tyler Bieber: a journalist, coach and trailblazer

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This morning the CFL community learned that Tyler Bieber, a Saskatchewan native and member of the CFL family, was one of the fourteen victims who lost their lives in the Humboldt Broncos bus collision on Friday evening.

I want to begin this piece by offering my deepest condolences to everyone who was affected by this unspeakable tragedy. There are no words to describe the shocking nature of what took place 30 kilometres north of Tisdale yesterday, the horror of which will forever impact our nation’s athletic community. Fourteen lives were lost. Thousands of others — those of partners, relatives, friends, teammates, and more — have been changed forever.

With respect to all of the victims of last night’s tragedy, this piece will focus on just one in particular: Tyler Bieber.

I never had the opportunity to meet Tyler, but he was someone who I admired from afar. Tyler ran his own CFL website, cfldaily.ca, for years and used it to provide outstanding coverage of the league long before the rise of many non-traditional media outlets. The website is no longer accessible, but a WordPress affiliate page is still active. I would encourage everyone to read Tyler’s work — while the content is a few years old, it still serves as strong insight into the league we all care so much about.

Tyler was also one of the pioneers of CFL social media, founding his @CFLDaily twitter account in January of 2010. The account was multi-faceted and, like so many of Tyler’s project, ahead of its time.

In addition to sharing his own articles, insight, and analysis, Tyler used his twitter account to amalgamate articles and news from around the league. Despite being relatively inactive for the past two years (more on that in a moment), Tyler’s account still has almost 10,000 followers. His was one of the first accounts I followed after joining Twitter and a huge part of the CFL’s social media landscape.

I’ve embedded some of Tyler’s tweets from over the years below to demonstrate how knowledgeable he was about the CFL and its players. Whether it be CFL-NFL player movement, quirky stats or player analysis, Tyler knew it all and was eager to share.

It was his outstanding knowledge of the league that earned Tyler the opportunity to write for CFL.ca toward the end of the 2011 season, an impressive accomplishment for an amateur journalist. Tyler wrote about Grey Cup predictions, league all-stars, coaching history and more for the website, providing a unique voice to the league’s largest formal online platform.

My personal favorite piece of Tyler’s was the CFL name game article that he penned following the emergence of Bear Woods in the 2011 East Division Semi-Final. It highlights not only Tyler’s passion for league history, but also his wit and sense of humour. Despite the sombre emotions of yesterday’s accident weighing heavily upon me, I couldn’t help but laugh while reading the article this morning.

I understand that the reason Tyler took a step back from his work covering the CFL was his decision to pursue sports journalism as a career. Tyler didn’t attend journalism school and, in an ever-changing media landscape, finding work without a degree in journalism was tough.

This was what led Tyler to return to his hometown of Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Tyler was hired by CHBO radio in Humboldt and became the voice of the Broncos SJHL hockey team, which, of course, led to his presence on the team bus during last night’s tragedy. Tyler also coached high school basketball and football in Humboldt, giving up his time to mentor the young athletes of his home province. Tyler can be seen manning the Humboldt Hawks’ sideline in the banner photo of his personal twitter account.

As a non-traditional media person, I owe Tyler a sincere debt of gratitude. Tyler Bieber was one of the people who paved the way for guys like me to offer my thoughts, insight, and analysis about the CFL for relevant, legitimate news outlets. I will never forget his contributions to the league, its fans, and to non-traditional journalists like myself.

Is it possible to miss someone you never even met? What I’m learning today is that the answer is yes.

Rest easy, Tyler.

You will be missed by all.

About the author

John Hodge

John Hodge is a lifelong follower of the CFL who has been writing about the league since 2014. He is a two-time finalist of the Jon Gott lookalike contest.

By John Hodge

3DownNation is a website dedicated to covering the CFL and Canadian football.




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