Broadcaster Don Cameron passed away unexpectedly Thursday after dealing with an illness. He was 82.
"His impact is immeasurable," said current Rangers play-by-play announcer Mike Farwell, who worked alongside Cameron for five years.
"I think in many ways he was the seventh man for the Kitchener Rangers. He was synonymous with the hockey team and always will be."
Cameron, often referred to as "The Legend" by fans or "Cammy" by friends, brought the Blueshirts to life on the radio for more than 50 years before stepping out of the booth in 2015 to spend more time with Carole, his wife of 55 years.
Here is an excerpt from a story I did on Don during the Rangers' 50th anniversary season.
What was the best Rangers team to never win an OHL championship?
The 1973-74 Kitchener Rangers, who finished first in the OHL during the regular season but lost to the Peterborough Petes in the playoff semifinals.
“Coach Eddie Bush had some great players, Dave Maloney and Dwight Foster. It was just a team that was destined to win it all. Somewhere it got derailed. Mostly, it was Roger Neilson who was coaching Peterborough.
“Roger had a way of reinventing the game and doing a lot of clever things. He took defenceman Ed Pizunski and put him up at forward. He scored a bunch of goals and took care of Kitchener’s big guns.
“The power went out in one of the games. Eddie Bush said: ‘They have God on their side.’”
“The pressure got to the Rangers in the end. Neilson enjoyed a challenge. The team took a tilt downhill after that (it won only 17 games the next season).”
Who was the most talented Rangers player of all-time?
“You could go to guys like Derek Roy and Michael Richards. A guy that keeps jumping up is John Tucker. Larry Robinson only played one year here. But I’m going to go to Al MacInnis.”
Who is the best leader the team has ever seen?
“There were so many great captains. Again you could go to Roy, Richards or Brian Bellows. Walter Tkaczuk was a wonderful captain. His heart is what separated him from a lot of the players. I thought he had passion beyond his skill. He played with so much determination. He just wanted it. He had the personality that he could be fun loving and extremely serious.”
Who was the unsung hero on the 1982 Memorial Cup team?
Who was the unsung hero on the 2003 Memorial Cup team?
Which Rangers’ coach had the shortest temper?
“Orval Tessier was a demanding coach on the players. He was cantankerous with media at times.”
What Rangers player were you most surprised to see make the NHL?
“He didn’t get drafted. I think he is a classic example of how bad do you want it. It is there for you. He was able to get into the face of the opposition and he took that attitude to the NHL. It’s quite remarkable. He found a role in New Jersey. He not only took that role but he bettered it.”
Who was the most unique Rangers player of all time?
Wendell Young and Mike Moher.
“When Wendell came to town and was asked if he wanted to meet the other goaltender he passed, saying he didn’t want to meet anyone he had to beat out for a job. Of course that happened. He was just one of those guys. He’d pick up a piece of paper off the floor and put it in the garbage. He wanted to win for the team more than his personal stats. He could get his teammates up but at the same time he was kind of laid back.
“Moher was a tough guy. He would defend his teammates to the hilt. He was a free spirit. I hope he understands what I mean because he might bop me. One classic example, we had a kid Dallas Ashford who was a 13th forward/seventh defenceman. He’d get in games here or there. He was telling us that he wanted to score 20 goals and get in 20 fights. Moher was walking down the Aud hallway that day and we asked Mike: ‘Dallas wants to score 20 goals and get in 20 fights, what you do think of that kind of thing, has it ever happened to you?’ Mike, without missing a beat said, ‘I never scored 20 goals.’”
Who was the team’s best goalie?
“Scott Dickie only had one (big) year. Wendell Young was consistent. Was he the best? I think you’d have to go with Don Edwards, even though one of his most disappointing years was when we hosted the Memorial Cup and we didn’t make the playoffs (1975). Gary Kurt was also a good goaltender.”
Who was the most notorious Rangers killer?
Player: Brad Boyes
“He was a classic example of that. Somehow, you knew he was going to score. You can lock him down but he would somehow find a way to do it.”
Team: Ottawa 67’s
“We didn’t play them often, but we seemed to have problems with Ottawa over the years. They can be coming here on a losing streak and Kitchener is on a high and they’ll come out with a low scoring win at the Aud and then Kitchener goes to Ottawa and they blow the Rangers out of the water.”
6:04 of the video