Hockey is the fabric of our country and the cornerstone of every community. It is a key part of our national identity and consumes us from early morning practices to the late game on Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night. For Canadians, it is more than a sport, it is the thing that ties the community together.
Ron MacLean is one of our country’s most beloved sportscasters. As the co-host of Coach’s Corner with Don Cherry and host of the series Hometown Hockey, MacLean is arguably the game’s most eloquent ambassador - and a welcome guest in millions of Canadian homes every Saturday night during the hockey season.
If anyone can relate to the impact hockey has in communities across the country, it’s MacLean.
Travelling from coast to coast is something that MacLean is used to. Growing up, he lived everywhere from Nova Scotia to the Yukon Territory to Alberta. He briefly refereed with Hockey Canada and says the stories of hockey are told in the rinks.
MacLean still remembers his first minor hockey road trip, pretending to be professional players as his team boarded the coach bus. He can still relate to the friendships and comradery that minor hockey creates and often reminds young players how lucky they are to be playing such a great game.
He takes time to thank the selfless coaches and volunteers who devote countless hours in each rink to help grow the game. MacLean says that minor hockey teaches kids about humility, winning and losing and taking risks as your grow older.
Like many experts, MacLean warns about players being susceptible to burnout by focusing just on hockey. While some players are able to handle the extra time on the ice, he admits it’s a delicate balance that has no perfect formula.
MacLean’s show Hometown Hockey will be in Barrie this weekend starting Saturday afternoon. It will have programming for families and activities throughout the weekend. The event will also feature NHL Alumni and have local minor hockey teams participating throughout.
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