On May 28, 2002, the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Leafs in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup semifinals. May 28 was also production night here at The Varsity. For three hours, though, the newspaper-making was mostly on hold. We watched. We frothed and swore. We shrieked when Sundin tied it with less than a minute left in regulation, and we wilted like limp daisies when Martin Gelinas ended it in overtime. Which is all just to say that even the pasty dweebs who work at campus papers aren’t immune to the Great Canadian Hysteria.

So Canadians are idiots about hockey. Is that why Ron McLean’s worth the extra money? Because we’re a nation of addicts and he’s one of our favourite pushers?

Well, no.

It’s not even because he’s half of Canada’s favourite prime-time comedy act (although Coach’s Corner certainly would suck without Ron there, brow furrowed, mouth opening and shutting like a landed carp).

No, McLean is so much more than that. He’s a role model. An inspiration. A class act, damn it. He might make more in a year than I’m likely to in my whole life, but I’d still buy him a beer if I ever met him.

Who else could maintain such saintly calm after 17 years being chewed up in Cherry’s treads? No matter how much Don yells, no matter what offensive things he says about the Swedes, Ron never shouts back. He doesn’t feel the need to be the loudest one present; he’s not compelled to have the last word. He’s a civilizing influence on the hoodlum-ridden NHL, and does the rest of us no harm either. Just think how much more bearable the Students’ Administrative Council (for instance) would be with a few Ron McLeans.

We can forgive him this tacky money-grubbing, which is so utterly out of character. We love you, Ron.

Just don’t ask for another raise for a while, okay?

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