Sports

TSN anchor excited for MacGregor stop

Shelley Cook, Central Plains Herald-Leader

The countdown is on for the Kraft Celebration Tour to touchdown in MacGregor and it's not only MacGregor residents who are excited for one of the biggest shebangs in the town's history. TSN SportsCentre anchors Dan O'Toole and Jay Onrait also can't wait to get the party started.

"We cannot wait," said O'Toole in a telephone interview from Toronto. "It's the last stop, so everyone is so excited because, well, we all have to say goodbye to the show, so it has the extra vibe of electricity to it. We're really looking forward to it."

The third annual Kraft Celebration Tour will see O'Toole and Onrait rolling into MacGregor the day before the Aug. 27 broadcast. The popular anchors will make their way around the town, shooting vignettes that highlight and reflect the community. The vignettes will appear on the live broadcast of SportsCentre the following day.

"It is literally a one-hour postcard on MacGregor," explained O'Toole of the live broadcast. "It'll be the people that made the bid possible; it'll be what MacGregor is known for; it'll be the picturesque places of MacGregor all throughout the show. If people hadn't heard of MacGregor before the show, they will know everything about the town when we are finished with it and that's what we love doing."

Already veterans at taking their show on the road as part of the Kraft Celebration Tour, the popular duo know they'll be treated to V.I.P access of each community they broadcast from. O'Toole said the anchors are fortunate enough to get a glimpse of the "behind the scenes" attractions of each place they visit, seeing more than most tourists would.

"We are honourary residents for about a day and a half of each community," he said, adding that nobody has ever officially given them that title. "We just bestow it upon ourselves."

O'Toole said he hopes to see people from all over the province come out to MacGregor, the only Manitoba stop on the Kraft Celebration Tour, to take part in the festivities.

"It is a big deal, I'm from the town of Peterborough, Ont., just east of Toronto," he said. "If SportsCentre had come to my community when I was growing up, I would have done everything - I would have quit my job, rode my bike, whatever it took to make sure I got there for this, because it's a big thing and if people want to be seen on TV it's pretty easy because the entire audience is behind us throughout the show."

Last year, when they signed off from their live broadcast in Pinawa, MB, O'Toole said he and Onrait started chanting "bring back the Jets," which was immediately echoed by the fans in the audience. The patriotic chant, he said, kept going well after the cameras were turned off.

"We don't want to take credit, but we will take credit for the Jets returning to Winnipeg," he said jokingly. "It was a neat moment that we'll always remember."

Though O'Toole admits he has never been to MacGregor before, he says he loves Winnipeg and can't wait to see what's in store for him and Onrait when they take the town by storm Aug. 27.

For an entire rundown of the Kraft Celebration Tour in MacGregor, check out the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=138879442863311

scook@cpheraldleader.com



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