March 21st, 2019

‘Hometown Hockey’ celebrates city connections


By Kuhl, Nick on March 16, 2019.

The stage is set for Rogers Hometown Hockey this weekend outside the Enmax Centre hosting the 2019 U Cup mens national hockey championship. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Nick Kuhl

Lethbridge Herald

nkuhl@lethbridgeherald.com

Ron MacLean’s father-in-law is from Lethbridge and used to drive Vic Stasiuk’s car to Detroit for him ahead of the NHL season.

Stasiuk, the Lethbridge hockey legend and Stanley Cup winner, would fly down for training camp and have his car arrive later.

“He hung with all the hockey players who are iconic,” said MacLean, in a phone interview with The Herald on Friday, about his father-in-law.

Along with co-host Tara Slone, MacLean will be in Lethbridge on Sunday for “Rogers Hometown Hockey’s” 23rd stop of the season, where stories such as that will anchor the broadcast. The two-day hockey festival begins today at noon in the east parking lot at the Enmax Centre and will conclude Sunday evening following the outdoor viewing party of the NHL game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Dallas Stars.

The broadcast begins with a pre-game show hosted by MacLean and Slone live from the Sportsnet Mobile Studio beginning at 4:30 p.m. John Shorthouse will then call the NHL game on Sportsnet.

“John’s mom is Ann Shorthouse, but her maiden name is Paterson,” MacLean said. “And the Gilbert Paterson Middle School is named for John’s grandfather. It’s crazy how that happens with the six degrees of unification.”

Former professional players Doug Barkley, Jack de Heer, Earl Ingarfield Sr., Jamie Pushor and Stacy Roest, Olympic medallists from 2018 Rob Klinkhammer and Daryl Boyle, and two-time Stanley Cup champion Kris Versteeg, are just a sample of the many deep-rooted connections the hockey world has with the city of Lethbridge.

The number of NHL coaches throughout the years who went through Lethbridge at some point also includes Mike Babcock, Willie Desjardins, Bill Peters, Lorne Molleken, Bryan Trottier and the Sutters, MacLean pointed out.

“It’s crazy how many stories get left on the cutting room floor, especially in a hockey town like Lethbridge,” he said. “It will be a great, comfortable show.”

In addition to his in-laws hailing from Lethbridge, MacLean is looking forward to a return to the city after the Hometown Hockey visit in 2015 was shut down to due to extreme winds.

“The mayor’s the same (from 2015), Chris Spearman, so I’ll see him again,” MacLean said. “And the guy that taught me the most about broadcasting is Wayne Barry. He came from Lethbridge to Red Deer and showed me the ropes. He was an icon of radio in Lethbridge.”

On Sunday MacLean and Slone will chat with Lethbridge Hurricanes’ general manager Peter Anholt and discuss Jake Elmer signing with the New York Rangers. There will also be a feature on the 1994 University of Lethbridge Pronghorns national championship team led by head coach Babcock, as well as a feature on star forward Dylan Cozens.

“I got to meet Dylan at the CHL Top Prospects in Red Deer,” MacLean said. “Just incredible to see how talented those kids were. Dylan was a joy.”

For the free Rogers Hometown Hockey Festival, it runs from noon until 6 p.m. today, then noon until after the viewing party on Sunday. The 2019 U Cup men’s national hockey championship game will also air on Sportsnet 360 at 6 p.m.

Among those attending will be NHL alumni Rich and Duane Sutter, Glenn Anderson and Curtis Glencross, as well as Olly Postanin and Jacob Ardown of “On The Bench,” and Olympic gold medallist Carla MacLeod. There will be live music by Mariya Stokes today, and by Drew Gregory on Sunday.

Other on-site activities include interactive experiences, autograph signings, video game stations, and the Sportsnet Virtual Photo Booth. The Scotiabank Community Hockey Rink will be present as a family-friendly outdoor hockey space to engage hockey fans and play ball hockey. Scotiabank will also be donating $15,000 to minor hockey associations in the community.

“It’s funny enough, a mining history,” Maclean said of Lethbridge. “But it’s definitely a mine – would be a good metaphor – for the city, because it’s produced great core values in hockey and in broadcasting,” MacLean said. “I’m glad we talked. I’ll steal that for Sunday, for sure.”

Follow @NKuhlHerald on Twitter

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