CFL fans remember Ron Lancaster

The CFL has lost a legend, and Canada has lost a friend in Ron Lancaster.

The CFL has lost a legend, and Canada has lost a friend.

Ron Lancaster, 69, died Thursday morning from an apparent heart attack, less than two months after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

The former standout quarterback, who also had a long career as a head coach, administrator and television commentator, was diagnosed in late July and had been undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. Lancaster's death has prompted readers to write in and share their memories of the CFL great.

Here's just a small sample:

Reader from Regina: "Many are recalling Lancaster's contributions to the CFL, but I wanted to share a personal anecdote. While still playing in Regina, Ron worked for several years as a phys-ed teacher at Regina's Central Collegiate. Although it was a treat to have a celebrity as a teacher, there was also a downside. On occasion, the class engaged in a game of murder ball. God help you if Lancaster placed himself on the opposing team, as it was hard to avoid his throws. And when hit by his thrown ball, you knew it! He always seemed to take great delight in picking guys off."

Reader from Calgary: "I loved watching Ron Lancaster play. His appearance was a far cry from the tall, strong-armed passers of today. Lancaster could roll out and scramble, he could hit any of his fleet of receivers and he used his skilled fullback, George Reed, to score points in bunches, and put up those impressive team win-loss records from 40 years ago."

Reader from Calgary: "When I attended my first Stampeders game as a young boy, Calgary was leading in the fourth quarter and Lancaster calmly led the offence down the field for the winning score as time expired. I hated him at that moment but also realized how special he was. RIP Ronnie."

Reader from Victoria: "All of Canada mourns the loss of Ron Lancaster. As a child growing up in Ottawa, I remember the glory days of the Ottawa Rough Riders in the early '60s, when Ron and Russ Jackson made such a potent QB combination. After Ron was traded to the green Riders, we all still had a soft spot for him in our hearts. Such a wonderful, talented, classy guy — he will live on forever in the annals of Canadian football."

Reader from Hamilton: "I have been following the CFL for 40 years. Ron Lancaster was a professional football player, coach, television analyst and, most of all, a fantastic person. I live in Hamilton and was proud to have Ron Lancaster associated with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Ron brought class to our organization and I will always remember him as a person who brought such a great example of what class and humility is to the Canadian people."

Reader from Winnipeg: "As a youth growing up in Winnipeg in the '70s I have many fond memories of the games between our Prairie rivals, led by the immensely talented Ron Lancaster. As often as not, my dad would be pacing the floor and cursing at the Bombers' inability to contain the Little General."

Reader from Hamilton: "My earliest football memories are of the player (Ron Lancaster), my mother (born in Saskatchewan) and my dad (an ardent Ticat fan). Watching the '72 Grey Cup here in Hamilton between the Riders and Cats was tense in our house. But Ron found his way to Hamilton and we, like the people of Saskatchewan and Edmonton, will regard him as one of our own. A great player, coach and a greater person. Goodbye, Ron."

Reader from Regina: "Ron Lancaster exemplified the style and grace of the golden age of the CFL. I think it would be appropriate to retire No. 23 league wide, as a small token of respect."

Reader from Campbell River, B.C.: "Like many Canadians, I spent years watching Ron Lancaster in the CFL, first as a quarterback. His partnership with George Reed and the Saskatchewan Roughriders was unforgettable. His years as a broadcaster added a layer of class to his analysis of teams, players and plays that has not been matched since his departure. He was a very fine gentleman, a first-rate quarterback and superb commentator at games."

Reader from Hamilton: "I was just a young lad then, but I'll remember him most for the Grey Cup battles with the Tiger-Cats in the '60s, or sneaking my transistor radio into bed to listen to the night games in Saskatchewan."