Ron MacLean springs to river rescue

Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean sprang from his seat on Thursday while having lunch with Don Cherry to help rescue a man attempting suicide in the Delaware River in Philadelphia.

That head-to-head matchup with Gary Bettman on Wednesday? It was nothing compared to Ron MacLean's lunch on Thursday. 

A day after he battled the NHL commissioner on Hockey Night in Canada, MacLean sprang from his seat while having lunch with Don Cherry to help rescue a man attempting suicide in the Delaware River in Philadelphia.

"A woman with a heavy French accent comes through the patio doors, and she's all panic-stricken and saying, 'Help! Help! There's a man in the water!'" MacLean told Jeff Marek of Hockey Night in Canada Radio

The woman's husband had already jumped into the river to try to save the man, who was bound with yellow rope and had tape around his mouth.

"So I get up and I can see that her husband's jumping into the river, he's stripped down, just in his underwear, and he's jumping into the Delaware River," MacLean said.

MacLean grabbed a red velvet rope used as a divider in the restaurant, leaped over the wrought-iron railing around the patio and raced to help. 

And what was Cherry doing at the time? 

"Supervising," MacLean said. "He was just overseeing to make sure everything was OK. We knew this guy wasn't going to drown at this point. 

"I kind of hop over the rail and jump down to help this guy that's already in the water with the man who is taking his life, as it turns out."

The rescuer in underwear who had plunged into the river managed to get the bound-up man onto a raft and pulled him towards the shore. Then MacLean grabbed the victim by one arm, handed the rope to a hotel employee and the three rescuers pulled the man to shore and safety.

"It was an unbelievable scene," MacLean said. "So I get back to the table, Grapes sits down and says, 'Well that's just great. I'm telling a wonderful story about Dave Bolland, enjoying a nice lunch and you go running down to the river.

"What is this?"

MacLean and his HNIC co-host were having lunch after shooting introductions for Cherry's Rock 'em Sock 'em Hockey video No. 22, coming out next winter. 

MacLean admitted the rescue put the battle with Bettman into perspective.

"Gary and I don't have it all that bad as I sit here moaning about it," he said. "It was fight or flight, for sure and after [interviewing] Gary, it seemed like the easiest thing to do — go jump in a river."

MacLean emphasized, however, that he's not the hero of the story.

"The real hero was the first guy, who arrived first," MacLean said. "I wish I had his name. He kind of rushed off quickly because he was sort of half naked."