January 9, 1930 – March 11, 2015
It is with heavy hearts and much love that we announce the passing of a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. Al will be greatly missed by Joan, his wife of 60 years, daughter Shaunda, son-in-law George, son Darren, grandsons Danny and Drew, sister-in-law Margaret, his “two favourite nieces” Rochelle (Russell) and Paige (Ken), their girls Nevyn and Shaelyn, and many longtime friends. He was predeceased by his son Michael in 1966 and brother Doug in 2003.
Al was born and raised in Coaldale, Alberta. He worked as Sports Director of CJOC Radio and CJLH TV in Lethbridge from 1954 until moving to Edmonton in 1963. Here, he began what would be an illustrious 30 year career in sports at CFRN TV and the CTV network. Following his retirement in 1993, Al and Joan enjoyed many golf filled years in both Edmonton and Mesa, Arizona. As Al would say, “he had a great run.”
Please join us to celebrate Al’s life at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, April 24, 2015 at The Derrick Golf and Winter Club, 3500 – 119 Street NW, Edmonton. If friends so desire, donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Al’s memory.
Special thanks to Gregg Pilling, Barb Marocco, and the staff of both 5A5 of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and the St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital for their care and support these past months.
Published in The Edmonton Journal on Mar. 14, 2015
Al’s forty year broadcasting career began in 1952 as a probationary announcer at CJOC, Lethbridge. His performance and his love of sports soon elevated him to the position of Sports Director, first at CJOC, then at CJLH-TV in Lethbridge, at CFRN Radio and TV in Edmonton, and as sportscaster with the CTV Network.
Al lists, as his career highlights, attendance at such important sports events as the Olympic Games, Grey Cup and Stanley Cup games, and World Curling Championships. Many of these took him on junkets to centres in Canada, the United States and Europe.
Al retired from CFRN Radio and Television in 1993, having completed thirty years in RN’s employ. He comments that, having spent thirty-seven years as a sportscaster during his forty-year broadcasting career, it was akin to getting paid for doing something that he would happily do for nothing, (a heartfelt sentiment that we promise we won’t take literally!).
Although not yet captioned, be sure to click on the thumbnail that looks like a TV schedule. On the left of the enlargement, you will see the original 1963 announcement of Al’s appointment to the position of Sports Director at CFRN AM, FM & TV.
CFRN’s Al McCann was ‘one of the real good guys’
Longtime Edmonton broadcaster dead at age 85
By Curtis Stock
March 12, 2015
EDMONTON — “I sure had a great run.”
Those were some of the last words legendary Edmonton sports announcer Al McCann said before he quietly passed away Wednesday evening with his family gathered around him.
McCann was 85.
“He just slowly faded away,” said daughter Shaunda Yeoman.
“It was so much more peaceful than I could ever imagine. There was no gasping; he just stopped breathing.”
Starting his broadcasting career in Lethbridge, in 1963, McCann came to Edmonton, where he served as sports director for CFRN radio and television for more than 30 years.
He covered four Olympics for CTV, broadcast 28 Grey Cups, performed play-by-play for the Edmonton Oilers, announced Edmonton Drillers soccer games and thoroughly covered the local sports scene.
Inducted into the CFL Reporters Hall of Fame in 1993, McCann is also enshrined in the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
He has also received a special Citation of Merit from the City of Edmonton.
“He was a great sportscaster, but he was also a great dad, a great husband and a great grandfather,” Shaunda said of her father, who also leaves behind his son, Darren, wife Joan and two grandchildren.
“He just loved life. He loved his family and his friends, and he really loved his golf and his Edmonton Eskimos.
“I remember, many years ago, when he was asked when he would retire, dad said ‘I watch sports, I talk about sports, I play golf. What would I retire to?’”
While golf was his passion, McCann was also a good athlete in his own right, excelling in baseball and basketball.
He was always humble and always a gentleman, Shaunda said.
“Celebrity was almost uncomfortable for him,” she said. “He taught all of how to really accept everybody — that everybody has values.”
“A total class guy,” said former Oilers radio play-by-play announcer Rod Phillips, who worked with McCann at CFRN for 28 years. “Just unbelievable.
“He was warm-hearted and didn’t have a negative bone in his body. He saw the good in everything and had a really nice sense of keeping things in perspective.
“It’s a really sad day for all of us.”
Sports writer John Short, a longtime radio broadcaster who was also a colleague with McCann at CFRN, called his friend “as good as a pro as I’ve ever seen. He was so good.”
As evidence, Short recalled the day McCann was run over by the Calgary Stampeders’ horse, Quick Six, after a Calgary touchdown celebration.
“He didn’t just get hit, he got clobbered,” said Short. “But he never missed a beat. He still finished the game. Who do you know who could do that? But that was Al McCann.
“I never saw him be rude to anybody,” added Short. “He was one of the real good guys in our business.”
On Twitter, TSN’s Chris Cuthbert called McCann “One of the finest and most respected gentlemen in Canadian sportscasting history.”
Also on Twitter, CHED’s Dave Campbell tweeted “Before Twitter, social media, and sports tickers, I had to wait until the 6 p.m. news on CFRN and watch Al McCann to get my sports news.”
A celebration of McCann’s life will be held in April.
Al McCann, former CFRN sportscaster, passes away
Julia Parrish, CTV Edmonton
Published Thursday, March 12, 2015 1:21PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 12, 2015 1:34PM MDT
The world of sports has lost a major figure, as legendary sportscaster Al McCann has passed away.
In his decades covering sports in Edmonton, he brought Edmontonians highlights during the Oilers glory days, in addition to countless other milestone sporting events in Alberta’s capital city.
McCann’s career started in the late 1950s, when he covered sports at a radio station in Lethbridge.
In 1963, McCann moved north to Edmonton, where he began his 30 year stint at CFRN – now CTV Edmonton.
He started as a sports announcer, eventually working his way to Sports Director – covering 28 CFL Grey Cups, numerous Stanley Cup championships, and curling Briers.
McCann retired from broadcasting in 1993, and was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame that same year.
One of his last public appearances was in the fall of 2013 – at the unveiling of ‘The Sportscasters’ mural, located at 100 Avenue and 50 Street, as part of the ‘Giants of Edmonton’ series of murals.
McCann was 85-years-old.