Premier Klein to look into naming portion of province for Hart
By RICK BELL -- Calgary Sun
Hart Lake or Mount Hart are but two of many choices.
Perhaps a river or a road will be given the honour.
But one thing you can take to the bank.
Premier Ralph wants to pay permanent tribute to the memory of wrestler Owen Hart and to the legacy of the Hart family.
"I'll tell you what I'll do," says Ralph -- who, along with his wife Colleen, sent letters of condolence to Owen's mom and dad, Stu and Helen, and Owen's wife, Martha.
"The family have gone through many tragedies and I know this is so tough on Stu and Helen and Martha.
"After this period of mourning, I will personally get together with Stu and the province's community development department and, for sure, we'll see exactly what we can do.
"We will look at this very, very seriously. I mean that. Owen and his family have given a tremendous legacy to Albertans. This is a family who created a dynasty in wrestling and, in their way, put Calgary on the map.
"They also have a strong sense of family and really do care about contributing something back to society. Anything you want them to do, they'll be there."
Ralph laughs. "Stu had the attitude if you don't care about people, you get a slap in the head."
By the way, let me warn the critics right off the get-go.
I approached Ralph about this idea because many Sun readers from around the world suggested it to me.
Ralph merely responded to what I asked.
He didn't want any part of this story except as a mourner and friend.
So, if you don't like the idea, take a strip out of me.
The premier does agree naming a small part of this province in Owen's memory acknowledges the importance of those who make a difference in our world, but aren't necessarily a high society big wheel.
"Often, we look simply at those who donate money. But there is much more. Owen and all the Harts are true folk heroes.
"I know them all -- Bruce and Keith and Bret and Owen and all the girls. The Harts have been folk heroes ever since the days of the old broken-down Cadillacs parked in front of Stu's old mansion."
Ralph should know.
Ralph's dad Phil was a pal of Stu and wrestled on the local B-circuit, hitting small towns and bush camps.
Phil wrestled under many names -- one of them was Killer.
And Killer was known for his big, strong hands.
Ralph watched a lot of wrestling in his day.
He watches little of wrestling now.
"I went to this match and, to me, it was psychedelic. The show appealed to ..." Ralph searches for a delicate word, "... a sense of voyeurism.
"I don't know about all the tricks, it's all hype. It's sad to see this hype makes it more valuable for pay TV and it's unfortunate it leads to this tragedy.
"Maybe the various federations should rethink the gimmickry."
On Monday, Ralph plans to pay his respects at Owen's funeral. Vince McMahon will be there, so will Stone Cold Steve Austin and a score of other grapplers.
More importantly, so will Owen's many fans who will gather outside the funeral home and listen through loud speakers.
Many will also send flowers and donate to the Alberta Children's Hospital, a charity Owen supported.
Ralph echoes the feelings of many who phoned and e-mailed the Sun yesterday.
"Outside, inside, I don't really care. I'll be there," says Ralph.
And he'll do much more.
Yes, Hart Lake. I like it.
Wrestling fans around the world have been shocked by the tragic death of Owen Hart. If you'd like to send your prayers and condolences to the Hart family, we'll take your message and forward it to them. Here's how: Phone 250-0560 and leave a message after the tone; fax 250-4180. We've also got the help of Canada's busiest website -- the Sun's own canoe -- to collect names. Just e-mail email@example.com