Feature Story

Celebrating 50 years as the 'Voice of the Mounties'

Steve Ridlington's ('75) commitment to Mounties Athletics a tribute to the achievements of student-athletes
By: Melissa Lombard

Every fall for the past 50 years, the familiar phrase “Touchdown Mounties” can be heard echoing across the Tantramar Marsh from then MacAulay Field — now Alumni Field. That longtime ‘Voice of the Mounties’ is none other than Steve Ridlington.

Ridlington came to Mount Allison from Quebec, following in his brother’s footsteps, and soon got involved on the sidelines with athletics. It was another’s bad luck that turned into good fortune and a lifelong passion for Ridlington.

“I was one of the founding directors of radio at Mount Allison and then started supporting the hockey team as a video operator. One day the stats guy got sick, so Jack [Drover] asked me to come do the game — the rest is history,” he says.

And where did the handle — ‘The Voice’ — come from? Legend has it that it was the late Ross Young (‘84) who bestowed it upon him.

“The Vanier Cup team in ‘84 got team jackets and Ross told me I was getting one,” says Ridlington. “When it arrived, mine had ‘00 Voice’ on the sleeve and that’s how it came about — my dear friend Ross had something to do with it.”

He also had a career with Parks Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Service, a family along the way, and an understanding wife of 39 years, Susan Kastuk-Ridlington.

"I believe his talent for announcing has allowed him to feel part of every team he has ever announced for," says Kastuk-Ridlington.

He says he chose to continue his association with Mount Allison Athletics throughout the years because of the student-athletes.

“University athletes are some of the best amateur athletes in the nation, so it has been my mission to share their good news stories on what they are able to achieve in athletic excellence along with getting a quality education. I have great admiration for the students who choose to do that.”

Left: Ridlington with Éric Lapointe ('99) at his jersey retirement on campus in 2012. Right: Ridlington during the 2018 U Sports Final 8 Men's Basketball Championships in Halifax.

Some of his favourite moments along the way have been the two football Vanier Cup appearances in 1984 and 1991; the Uteck Bowl on MacAulay Field in 2013; the 2013-14 women’s hockey finalists, who packed the Tantramar Memorial Civic Centre in a home playoff game against UdeM; and, of course, two-time Hec Crighton winner Éric Lapointe (‘99).

“I have to talk about Éric Lapointe, who anyone who bleeds garnet and gold would argue strongly is the best ever Canadian collegiate player. He was just emblematic of the power of the Mounties in the mid-90s,” says Ridlington.

Ridlington’s longtime connection to Mount Allison extends well beyond athletics. He is the life secretary of the Class of 1975, spent eight years on the Alumni Board, and was honoured with the Charles Frederick Allison Award for his contributions to the University at his 25th Class Reunion.

He’s also a well-known volunteer in the Sackville community and, in 2018, was named to the Sackville Sports Wall of Fame in the Builder category. He had a particular interest in women’s soccer, managing teams including his daughters Emily and Julie on their youth and school teams, and in 2000 was named Soccer NB’s Volunteer of the Year.

“My time is the resource that I can commit,” says Ridlington. “There is tremendous value in the commitment of time.”

Aside from football, Ridlington has also lent his voice to a number of other major sporting events — and had the best seat in the house — at CFL Touchdown Atlantic games, USPORTS Final 8 Basketball games doing French play-by-play, 2014 FIFA U20 World Cup and 2015 Women’s World Cup Soccer games, Club Nationals U17 Soccer in Moncton, and USPORTS Hockey Nationals.

He also spent some time doing football play-by-play with Eastlink and continues participating in AUS and ACAA webcasts.

Ridlington's family and friends came from across Canada and the U.S. to celebrate his 50th anniversary on Homecoming Weekend 2023

Ridlington was honoured with a 50th anniversary celebration at Homecoming on Sept. 23.

“In many ways, my commitment of time, effort, and energy has been without question because of what I hold in my thoughts about this school and to have this recognition and thank you after five decades is absolutely a bucket list moment."