Born: January 9, 1930 (Lethbridge, Alberta)
Died: March 11, 2015 (Edmonton, Alberta)
Canadian Football Hall of Fame (1993)
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame (1993)
Lethbridge (Alta.) Sports Hall of Fame (1989)
Al McCann hosted CTV’s coverage of the 1976 Winter Olympics in Austria and at later Olympics in 1980 and ’88 covered alpine and downhill skiing for the network.
For nearly three decades, McCann was the face and voice of Edmonton sports as sports director of CFRN radio and television in the Alberta capital. His tenure included dynasties by both the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos and the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
Born in Lethbridge, Alta., where his mother operated a pharmacy, he attended school in Coaldale, about 10 kilometres east of Lethbridge, where he played on the high school baseball and basketball teams. As a pitcher, he won a provincial fastball title with the Shaughnessy Cadillacs.
McCann joined radio station CJOC in 1952, adding television duties when the station expanded into that new broadcasting medium. The reporter was a familiar figure at Civic Centre and Henderson Park in his hometown. He became sports director at CJLH-TV in his hometown in 1959, where he was host of a weeknight sports show airing at 6 p.m.
In 1963, he moved north to join CFRN in Edmonton as a sports announcer, eventually becoming sports director and one of the most familiar faces in Western Canadian sports broadcasting. He was inducted into the reporters section of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1993, the same year in which he was named the winner of the Bell Memorial Award by the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
Many stories circulate about McCann. Once, while broadcasting a game from McMahon Stadium Calgary, he opened the show by declaring, “From McCann Stadium in Calgary, I’m Al McMahon.” It was at that same stadium that McCann once was knocked down by a horse while reporting from the sidelines.