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Rangers announce changes to Don Cameron potato fundraiser

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Don Cameron Potato Night has been a community tradition for 26 years, but it’s about to see its biggest change yet at this Sunday’s game.

Every year fans are asked to bring a bag of potatoes to a Kitchener Rangers match. The spuds, along with cash donations, are then given to the House of Friendship.

According to the Rangers organization, the equivalent of half-a-million pounds of potatoes have been donated over the last 26 years.

On Tuesday, the Rangers announced a significant change to the fundraiser – potatoes will no longer be collected at the game.

“Fans in #RTown have grown fond of the Potato Night tradition over the years,” they explained in a media release. “However, over the last number of seasons there has been a declining need for potatoes to be donated to community groups and an increasing need for monetary donations and food drives collecting non-perishable goods.”

The organization said they will continue to honour Cameron’s legacy by hosting charitable games in his name to support the House of Friendship and local food banks. They will also “continue to do our part to help the growing number of people experiencing homelessness in our community.”

The charitable game will be held Sunday when the Rangers host the Kingston Frontenacs at the Aud. Members of the winning 1981-1982 Memorial Cup team will also be attendance.

History behind Potato Night

The event is a tribute to Don Cameron, who was the play-by-play announcer for more than 4,000 games throughout his 10-year career. He was also a sportscaster at CTV Kitchener for 19 years.

"He was so special to us," said Rangers COO Joe Birch. "I think not only was the [fundraiser] doing such amazing work within the community, but it was also a way to remember Don and his heritage and where he was from."

From CTV Kitchener: Don Cameron’s family thanks the community for their out pouring of love and support after his passing.

Potato Night was inspired by Cameron’s home province of Prince Edward Island and his desire to support local families in need.

Cameron retired as the play-by-play announcer for the Rangers in 2015 but he still made occasional appearances in the booth.

"He was a leader, he was a pioneer, he was legendary, and I think Don would still support something that reflects what's needed in Waterloo Region," explained Birch. "So that's our hope, that we'll raise lots of money and be able to support House of Friendship as we have in previous years, but just in a different way."

He died in 2018 at the age of 82.

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