Huge turnout expected for funeral
By JASON van RASSEL -- Calgary Sun
A tragedy will bring family and friends of Owen Hart to his funeral tomorrow, but they will go determined to remember the good times they shared with the popular wrestler.
Frank Sisson met Hart several times over the years when his casino hosted wrestling events, but said many of his best memories are of a gentle man who often took his family bowling at Sisson's establishment.
"I knew him not just as a wrestler, but as a friend," said Sisson, recalling how he attended Owen's wedding to wife Martha 10 years ago.
"They had a good life and I hope people remember the good things."
Sisson and Premier Ralph Klein will be among a host of dignitaries, wrestlers and local celebrities attending Owen's private funeral at the Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 Elbow Dr. S.W.
Owen, 34, died last Sunday at a World Wrestling Federation event in Kansas City, Mo., after he fell about nine metres when a stunt to lower him into the wrestling ring went horribly wrong. Hart fell head-first into a padded steel turnbuckle.
Calgary police expect 2,000 to 10,000 fans and well-wishers to attend the service.
The sheer number of fans expected to turn out has prompted the city to implement a series of road blocks around the chapel.
Klein told the Sun earlier this week he intends to meet with the Hart patriarch, Stu, and the province's community development department to find a suitable tribute to Owen.
Klein doesn't yet know whether that will mean naming a lake, a mountain, or a landmark after the Hart family.
"Owen and his family have given a tremendous legacy to Albertans," said Klein. "This is a family who created a dynasty in wrestling and, in their way, put Calgary on the map."
"The whole WWF company is coming, including Vince McMahon who, of course, absolutely should be there," said Hart's wife Martha.
The wrestlers will reportedly be led by current burly fan favourite, Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The WWF cancelled or postponed events last week, including the highly-rated Monday Night Raw, so the wrestlers can attend.
Fans who gather around the chapel will be able to hear the service through loudspeakers to be set out outside. The minister who wed Owen and Martha on July 1, 1989, and baptized their two children will preside.
Meanwhile, Kansas City police are still investigating the fatal accident.
PAYING YOUR RESPECTS
The city has issued the following notice concerning Owen Hart's 11 a.m. funeral tomorrow:
* At 8:30 a.m., 50 Ave. S.W. will be closed from Elbow Dr. to 6 St. S.W. In addition, the alley from 6 St. S.W. to 50 Ave. will be closed.
* For the funeral, parking will be restricted at and around the McInnis and Holloway Funeral Home at 5008 Elbow Dr. S.W.
* The right lane of northbound Elbow Dr. from the alley south of 50 Ave. to 49 Ave. will be closed.
* Traffic is expected to return to normal by 2 p.m. and the Hart family reminds fans that the service inside the chapel is private; however people can gather around outside and pay their respects to Owen at the service.
The family also request the ceremony at the cemetery remain private.