Your favourite Ron Lancaster Memory

I thought it might be nice for Ron’s family if we could post some of our favourite memories of him. It could be a personal memory or meeting or a football one.

I’ll start with mine.

A few year’s back I went to a practice on Civic holiday. Because it was a holidy the city workers were off so all the gates were closed. I did notice some of my friends were watching the practice so I wasn’t very happy that I couldn’t get in. One of the members of the staff explained to me that I couldn’t come in because it was a holiday. One of my friends inside went to Ron Lancaster and Rob Katz (who were standing together at the time) and told them of my situation. Ron got on the walkie-talkie and told them to let me in. It was great that he took the time to do that when he really didn’t have to.

The look on his face immediately after the last whistle in the '99 East Final.
Mobbed by the CBC on-field producer and his assistant coaches.
A look of complete and utter relief and satisfaction with just a hint of emotion.


No one memory stands out. Bumped into him at functions and at the stadium. Just said "Hi Coach" and if he had time he would stop and talk for a minute or so.

Always cheerful and pleasant with the fans. I think he especially liked talking to fans who saw him actually play as a rookie with Ottawa, no age gap! :slight_smile: :frowning:

I remember when Ron was a QB nobody then and now could work the last three minutes of a game like Ron could. He would never give up.:frowning:

In 1993 my Dad's favourite team, the Eskimos were in Calgary to play his least favourite team the Blue Bombers. After a thrilling Edmonton victory, my Dad and his crew went to the Spirit of Edmonton room to celebrate. As you can imagine the line to get inside was long and not moving.

My Dad has always claimed to have a resemblance to Ron Lancaster; a claim usually disputed by his friends and family.

While standing at the back of that line a security guard suddenly rushed over to my Dad. He looked at him with astonishment at said, "Coach Lancaster, what are you doing standing in line?" and immediately ushed my Dad and his buddies into the party.

No one ever disputed Dad's claim again.

Just that grin when things were going well, man you could see how happy he was and, even as a coach, just eager to get back on the field and play. The grin of a true competitor who hated to lose more than anything. And then the hand through the hair thing too, loved it!

I first saw Ron Lancaster play in the early 60's when he was with Ottawa..and then traded to Saskatchewan.
I admired his leadership, his never-say-die attitude and his abilites as a QB. I loved his swagger as he headed out on to the field, no matter what situation he was facing. "The Little General" summed it all up.
I finally got to meet him a couple of months ago when I was at Ivor Wynne with my grandson watching a practice. As the practice was winding down we went across the field to the south stand and saw Ron Lancaster by an exit. I walked up to him, mumbled a few words about being a fan of his since way back, shook his hand and thanked him for all the great football over the years.
We chatted briefly about the win over the Blue team in the previous game and both hoped it was a sign that the Tiger-Cats were turning a corner. He was gracious enough to pose for a picture with Charlie and my grandson.
Then we all headed back across the field to our vehicles. My grandson and I were about 20 yards behind Ron...and there it was. That same swagger I had seen so many times as he went out from the sidelines into the huddle. In hindsight he must have known how bad his latest fight with cancer was. Yet he still looked like he was ready to take on whoever he had to....and win.
That memory will stay with me forever.

My favourite Ronnie moment came in 2006 when he came back to coach on the interim basis.

He threw the challenge flag at an obvious misjudgement by the referee. After the play was reviewed and NOT overturned, Ronnie looked up at the Dofasco Tigervision (as it was called at the time) saw the replay of it again and threw the challenge flag in disgust. The fans went absolutely nuts when he did this. The ref standing near him just calmly picked up the flag and handed it back to him.

When I worked on the prairies for a few years permiting farmers,often in Saskachewan,people would ask where I was from ,when I told them Hamilton it often brought a twinkle to their eye as they said .....thats where Ron Lancaster lives isn't it?
Then they'd give me a break and treated me better than alot of Westerners sometimes did when they discovered you were an Easterner.

I followed Ron's carreer all the way from when he was half of the George and Ronnie show in Regina to my favorite role when he was a CBC Journalist and the best was him hoisting the Grey Cup after bringing Flutie and McManus here in 98.

Shaking Ron's hand in the End zone at Ivor Wynn when he was GM just before a Rider /Ti-Cat game is my favorite Lancaster memory.He took time for the fans ,answered questions quickly and off he went.
That day in the End Zone I asked Ron "is it difficult playing your old team?
He answered ,"No" turned and walked away ,then about five paces later he turned back and said "Ya ,it is".

It was Grey Cup 1972 at Ivor Wynn, 10 minutes before kick-off.

I was a young Hamilton Police officer , assigned outside the Saskatchewan dressing room door for the the game.

Saskatchewan introduced their starting offense and I was standing within 6 feet of George Reed and Ron Lancaster.

The fans were going nuts, and 99% of them were Hamilton supporters.

Ron stood there with his hand on his hip watching his team mates being introduced.
He never said a word and was not fazed in the least by the presence of the moment. He was totally immersed in the job at hand.

My thoughts then were: This is one kool dude and he is going to win this game.

I ran into a lady who said Bernie Custis taught her
in Grade 7 in his very first year of teaching.

I saw Ron at practice and asked him to tell Bernie
that I wanted to talk to him about something.

Ron asked me what I wanted to tell Bernie about.

So I told Ron the story.

Ron said he would send him over if
I added his little twist to the story.

When I finished telling Bernie the story

I was unsure about adding Ron's twist to it
because I have so much respect for Bernie , but

I said..'this lady told me she was 74 years old.'

Bernie's jaw dropped and then, he looked around
and saw Ron about 15 yards away laughing his head off.

Bernie said to me..'that Lancaster put you up to this,

he is always telling me that I am 'older than dirt!'

I don't have any extraordinary first-hand memories of Ron, but what sticks with me most is how informative and entertaining he was when he was doing color commentary for the CBC.

People talk a lot about his sense of humor, and surely some of his quips got recycled a few times. One of my favorites was how he described the way they'd call plays during his days in Regina: "We'd flip a coin in the huddle. If it was heads, we'd hand the ball to George, and if it was tails, we'd throw it to Hughie. If the coin landed on its edge, I could call whatever I wanted." :wink:

Another quote from those days that summed up his humor, humility and affability came from a broadcast where the production staff showed images of a 1960s Ron Lancaster football card clipped from the back of a cereal box. Ron's remark: "Back in those days if you collected about 20 Ronnie Lancasters you could trade them for one Russ Jackson."

Met him at one of the first meet and greets at Boston pizza very nice person and was very interested what I had to say, we talked some football :slight_smile: A CLASS ACT......

Back in late June of this year the Cats held the Draft a Ti-Cat function at my work. I decided to get a Football and get it autographed by the team to give to my son for his birthday. Ron and some of the Ti-Cat staff were the first people to arrive. So I went over with the football and marker in hand and asked him if he would sign the ball for my son’s birthday. He smiled and said sure but when he went to sign it with the black marker I had it did not show. So what does Ron do, he goes right over to one of the Cat staff members asks for a silver marker and signs the ball with a smile. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ron a few times and will miss him.

The vision that will always pop into my head when someone says Ron Lancaster, is number 23 in the green jersey scrambling out of the pocket and heaving the leather down hill. Much as I loved his return to Hamilton, Ron will always be a Rider to me…Lancaster in the west, Russ Jackson in the east (after the trade) defined the CFL for many years. The dude could flat out play…