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Slam Wresting | Cochrane Eagle

From Wrestling Ring to Charity King: Iconic Cochrane Philanthropist Just Won’t Quit

Hanging up the towel comes easier to some than others - Dan Kroffat is helping families hang up Christmas decorations instead

Everyone wants a legacy,  and if there’s someone who has done a great job at this, it’s Dan Kroffat from Cochrane.

The legendary community member first made his mark as a professional wrestler with Stampede Wrestling in the 1970s. 

He was the first to invent the ever-popular “ladder match” in wrestling.

“The audience members are on the edge of their seats, you know, losing their minds, watching this gladiator battle on a ladder that’s about to come crashing down,” Kroffat told CBC.

Dan had an entertainment career among the stars, but wrestling is far from his only legacy.

Giving Back

Even while Dan was still wrestling on ladders, he always made time to help others.

He regularly helped various charities. 

After he retired from sports, he climbed the ladder to the next level of charity work.

He’s been recognized with awards from Cochrane Rotary Club, among other charitable organizations.

“He has raised literally millions of dollars for communities with no ask of return,” Rotarian Alex Baum formerly told a crowd before naming Kroffat a Paul Harris Fellow.

Dan’s most notable fundraising drives included a penny drive for Right to Play and countless Community Builder galas, and he’s long been a driving force behind the ever-infamous Great Cochrane Outhouse Race.  

“It just goes on, and on, and on. I don’t know when it will end. I hope it never ends. He continues to make people’s lives better,” said Baum.

Cochrane’s famous Outhouse Race | MacKay’s Ice Cream | Facebook

Stepping Back?

But earlier this fall, Dan Kroffat said he was finally taking a “step back” from volunteering in Cochrane.

“At 78 years old, we all start looking at the timeframe of life. If I were to compare it to a yardstick, I’m at the 32-inch line of a 36-inch yardstick,” he told the Cochrane Eagle last month.

Essentially, he felt it was his time to pass the torch.

“Knowing that this young group of Rocky Mountain Rotarians are going to take something forward that I had the privilege of starting…I hope I have enough years left in me to watch them grow.”

Kroffat has undoubtedly earned a front-row seat to watch what happens next.

However, as much Kroffat may say he’ll be sitting back and doing the cheering, staying on the sidelines doesn’t seem to come naturally to him.

In the last couple of months, he’s continued to go about his rounds, hosting the Outhouse Race as usual. 

Now, he’s running a new event he wants you to know about.

Christmas Charity

Dan Kroffat | Facebook

That event is a Christmas Charity Drive to help provide trees to families that can’t afford them this year.

“Every year, some of the hardships come at Christmas, we’re talking about inflation,” Kroffat told the Cochrane Times.

Likely to distract from his continued efforts, he’s giving credit for this event to someone even more well-known than he is. 

“Santa actually initiated this because he’s very aware of the fact inflation has driven a lot of families to a place where affordability is becoming difficult,” he joked.

Kroffat is asking people to nominate a family they think could benefit from the program by calling Cochrane Toyota at 403 932-9900 or visiting their website.

More information about this initiative is available on its event page.

More than anything, Kroffat is encouraging folks to give back by whatever means they have this holiday season.

“If everybody pitches in and helps in their own way, whether it’s supporting the food bank, Stuff A Bus, or any organization helping families, this is Santa’s small way of making a contribution and raising awareness to the needs of our communities,” Kroffat said.

Funnily enough, as Kroffat nears “the end of the yardstick,” he’s looking more and more like Old Saint Nick by the day.

Looks aside, one thing is for sure – if any Cochranite embodies a bold spirit of giving the way Santa does, it’s Kroffat.

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