October 1, 2011

Powers: The security man

By Bill Powers
Special to

The man I’m talking about today will not be familiar to many fans of the Calgary Stampeders.

His name is Dave Lovett and, basically, he calls Calgary home basically only on Stamps home game days. Otherwise, he spends most of his retired time at his cabin in the British Columbia interior.

But since 1973, Mr. Lovett has been in charge of game-day security for McMahon Stadium answering to stadium manager John Haverstock.

Earlier this week, I caught up with Lovett and asked about his game-day program and while you all notice the purple sports coats and yellow jackets throughout the crowd during games, I think it’s interesting to tell you the whole story.calgary_retro1960.jpg

For example, he will arrive at McMahon about two-and-a-half hours before game time to assemble a staff that includes 150 individuals at most games and up to 200 for games like this week against Saskatchewan and the Labour Day Classic against Edmonton.

These people are broken into a field group, a staff for customer service and then the ticket-takers at each gate around the stadium.

They are, obviously, spread out during the game but, thanks to radio contact, his people will respond in a hurry if anything happens, with involvement by the Calgary police, if necessary.

Of course, they have to patrol the field and hope that the streakers or those with too much to drink do not get on the field.

Dave says the problems are infrequent and tend to develop when there is a lull in the action on the field due to television commitments, so his staff members are warned to be at the ready during any timeout.

Over the years, there have been only minor problems at McMahon and he is grateful for that. Nevertheless, he always impresses on his people that something can break out at any time.

You might be interested in knowing that all of the ushers at the game get paid but that they donate their earnings to the women’s center and to women’s football programs. The field crew consists of volunteers.

When asked for highlights of his time at McMahon, he points out the 1988 Olympics and the Heritage Classic of earlier this year.

But when asked about an incident he’d rather forget, he goes back to the 1975 Grey Cup and the female streaker who dodged around the field in 10-below-zero temperatures.

In his words: “For some reason that year, the city police took over one gate. Had my people been there, that woman would never have made it into the building. But as she was running through the band, the police came to me and said get her off. I said, ‘You let her in, you get her out of here.’ The incident was quickly taken care of and her performance, if you will, did not get on national television.”

You’ll see them out there today but now you might know a little more about why they are there.

Just another chapter in what makes things work while the Calgary Stampeders are playing.