Ron MacLean helps the Dinos hit the bank

By Kris Kotarski

For once, Canadian broadcasting legend Ron MacLean made some comments he can’t get fired for.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve been in trouble with the CBC,” he chuckled to a sold out crowd at the Dinos Football Fifth Quarter Dinner, “and it probably won’t be the last.”

MacLean, a Red Deer native and former Calgary sportscaster, received a standing ovation at the dinner where he was the key attraction. Thanks to MacLean and the efforts of Dinos football alumni, the event raised over $165,000 for the team and the current athletes.

MacLean’s speech was a masterpiece, and it certainly hit home with the football alumni, parents, fans and wealthy industrialists in attendance. He simply recounted all the times he and Coach’s Corner co-host Don Cherry have been in hot water with the CBC.

“It’s funny,” he began, “the last time I was in Calgary it was October, it was snowing and I was out of a job.

“This time, it’s April, it’s snowing, and I might be out of a job.”

MacLean and Cherry have been the centre of attention since their comments on the Mar. 22 Coach’s Corner. Cherry made several statements in support of the United States led invasion of Iraq, and the duo has been reprimanded by the CBC brass who feel that the topic is inappropriate for a show in between hockey periods.

Since then, MacLean has done his best to defend his actions while Don Cherry went on the radio and reiterated his views.

“That’s ‘Grapes,’” laughed Mac-Lean, “he’s a pretty honest guy.”

In all, the sportscaster’s second appearance at the Fifth Quarter Dinner could not have come at a better time for the Dinos. MacLean, always a big attraction, was an even better draw considering the circumstances.

With that in mind, the 20th addition of annual fundraiser was a resounding success. Aside from the keynotes’ obvious contribution, the Calgary corporate community opened their wallets to support the team for another year. All but ten players were adopted through the Adopt a Dino program, and one anonymous donor gave back a signed Wayne Gretzky jersey he/she won in a raffle. The jersey, auctioned off shortly after, sold for over $4,000.

At the end of the night, everyone was in agreement. It’ll be difficult to top this year’s festivities, but this event, and the service it provides student athletes, is only getting better and better.

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