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Sportscaster Now Speaking for God
The first voice of the Calgary Flames is busy preaching now.

Calgary pastor, chaplain and former gritty sportscaster, Bart Dailley once had his eyes set on a career in baseball. God had other plans for him.

Sportscaster Now Speaking for God
Bart Dailley

"I'm a frustrated athlete," he told City Light News recently. "I thought I had a chance to be a baseball player. When it became obvious to me that it wasn't going to happen I thought well, maybe I can talk about it, so I got into the business to be a sportscaster."

Born and raised in Toronto he got his first radio job in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. "I started my career at $37/month in 1967. I did everything," he quipped. "We had an on-air staff of two."

Dailley's career led him to several small communities before he made it to Toronto, Montreal and finally Calgary where his career in broadcasting ended in 2003 following a heart attack.

"I worked at CHQR in Calgary until 1982," Dailley reported. "In 1980 the Flames moved to Calgary and we had the radio rights. I got the job as the play-by-play man. We did the Flames games that first year and they went right to the Stanley Cup semi-finals."

Some politicking cost Dailley his job and left him very disillusioned. "It was a most bitter and tough recovery but the Lord came into my life during that period," he said. "The end result is I'm walking with the Lord now."

Dailley had been raised a Catholic and always knew who Jesus was. "An arms length relationship was good enough for me," he continued. "He was there and I knew He was a God of love. It just wasn't important to me."

"In Montreal in 1976 I found I was the father of two and I didn't think I could handle this whole thing on my own so I started to search," he admitted. "God will put people in your life at critical times. The Expos made a trade that year for a ball player named Andre Thornton."

Just prior to the '76 Olympics, Dailley did a breakfast show with some professional athletes. One morning Andre Thornton was a guest. Dailley remembered Thornton was a Christian and asked him if he could talk about the Lord on the air. "I'll talk about the Lord on the air, off the air, anywhere," Thornton told Dailley.

After the show Dailley and Thornton spoke for several hours about God. Later that year Thornton got traded to the Cleveland Indians.

Two years after that discussion Dailley read the newswire service at CHQR and a story appeared saying Thornton had been in a car accident where his wife Gertrude and daughter Theresa were killed instantly. He and his son Andre Jr. survived.

"I saw that and couldn't believe it," Dailley said. "I tore it off, went into my little office and cried. I made a decision for the Lord. I said 'That's it for me. From this day forward I will not follow you at all. If you would let something like that happen to Andre Thornton I don't need you.'"

A year later Air Canada inaugurated flights from Calgary to Los Angeles and asked some media people to come along on a freebee. Dailley was invited. One of the many things planned for those invited was to see the California Angels play the Cleveland Indians.

"I got down there and saw Andre again," Dailley smiled. "His eyes just welled up with water as mine always do when I talk about this. I said, 'Andre, how could this happen to you?' He said, 'I don't know Bart, but I do know that God will never let you get into something where He will not provide the strength to get out.' While I was sitting back here being mad at God, Andre was doing all he could to win people to Christ. In fact he even spoke at his wife's funeral and gave an invitation to accept Christ."

"In '81 the Billy Graham team came to town for a crusade," Dailley said. "On August 24 I went to McMahon Stadium with the intention of answering the altar call when Billy Graham gave it. I've been following the Lord ever since."

Dailley took over the duties as chaplain of Calgary's Trinity Lodge in 1988. He puts in about 30 hours a week leading chapel services and Bible studies for seniors along with doing visitation and being a minister at large.

"The Lord has put some giants in my life at Trinity Lodge," he noted. "One lady has been in heaven for ten years now. Her name was Helen Attrell. She was a mentor. A gentle soul. Loving, kindhearted and supportive. She was a second mother to me."

Dailley and his wife Barbara have been married for 34 years and have three grown up children Steven, Monica and Roger along with their only grandchild, nine-month-old Sasha. "She's just a tiny little thing and I'm so in love with her," he beamed.

The tireless minister also finds time to pastor Wesley Christian Church which meets Sundays in Leyden's Chapel in Calgary. Dailley is passionate about serving God. "My emphasis is Jesus is Lord," he concluded. "I want people to walk out of church and think to themselves 'You know what, God really does love me.'"

John Syratt is the editor of City Light News.

Originally published in City Light News, July 2005.




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