Can't put a price on memories

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

Taking a trip down memory lane, on the day he was announced as part of the group that had purchased the Calgary Stampeders, Dave Hellard talked wrestling.

Stampede Wrestling.

From days long gone by.

Flanked by fellow owners John Forzani and Doug Mitchell -- who all comprise the 12-man group's executive committee -- and surrounded by Stamps paraphernalia, Hellard recounted days when he and his father, Art, were regulars at the Pavilion.

Days when they watched Archie (The Stomper) Gouldie grapple with Dave (The Pig Farmer from Hanna) Ruhl.

"I'd sit with my dad, fanatically, right by the ring pounding and screaming and hollering," said the dot-com millionaire with a laugh. "It was a lot of fun."

He knows it's altruistic.

Even willing to admit somewhat hokey.

But Hellard's reason for relaying the story explains why he became involved in the group that purchased the club from American Michael Feterik.

He may live a lavish life now but, growing up, Hellard was an air force brat.

Cash, back in those days, wasn't exactly plentiful.

But those memories with his father remain burned in his brain and are highlights of his life.

Now Hellard wants to see other children have similar memories and help provide them.

"I started to think how I could give back to the city. I could have bought a building for the university but sports is what gave me the edge in life and there's where I wanted to go," said Hellard, who was a star basketball player at the U of C and national team member.

"It's much more in the social fabric of the city.

"In the end, if we, as a group of owners, can bring that back to the community, than we've succeeded.

"I will feel, absolutely, like I've accomplished what I set out (to do). If I can see a smile on some kid's face, I know that kid 20 years from now will remember those times with his dad or his mom and that's all you can ask for.

"I'm beyond the part of being successful in business, I've done that and accomplished that and it's a very rewarding experience but now it's time to figure how can I try to give something back.

"It sounds corny but I want to see how I can make a difference. You get older in life and know eventually the bell's gonna toll and you want to go out saying, 'I actually accomplished something more than just dollars and cents.' "

Dollars and cents will come into play if plans thought up by the ownership group come to fruition.

Down the road, they'd like to become more involved with the Colts junior team, increase affiliation with the U of C Dinos and provide even further aid to the game at the minor and high school level.

The idea isn't just to be owners from the city. It's to be owners who give back to the city.

"I think local ownership allows the team to get more into the community," said Forzani.

"I remember just before Christmas, there was story in the paper about the Edmonton Eskimos giving $400,000 to amateur football in the north, $100,000 to both of the two junior teams, $100,000 to the university team and $100,000 to high school football.

"Good for them but bad for us. That's what local ownership gives you.

"Because you live here, you get to see where you can take action."


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