I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the guy (I forgive him for his penchant for incredibly corny puns), because (a) he's only a year older than I am, (b) like me, he grew up on the Canadian Prairies (in Red Deer, Alberta), (c) he's played straight man to Don Cherry & put up with his rantings for so many years ;) and (d) he was almost completely elbowed out of the job he loved by the younger, "hipper" George Stroumboulopoulos a couple of years ago -- only to be reinstated by popular demand (Go, Grey Power!! lol).
Tonight was the Toronto Maple Leafs home opener. I'm not paying much attention, but I did look up when, early in the broadcast before the game began, he showed a brief bit of footage of himself with an adorable group of excited peewee hockey players in Niagara Falls. "I look at these kids and I see myself... You know, my wife Cari & I don't have kids... but wherever there's hockey, we're home," he said.
In the back of my memory, I knew the MacLeans did not have children -- that they had been high school sweethearts, married for about as long as me & dh, and did a lot of charity work, both separately & together. I idly Googled "Ron MacLean kids" -- and up popped a (rather scary) story from Readers Digest about how Cari MacLean nearly died from a pulmonary embolism in October 2012. A few paragraphs in, I read this:
He had rushed to Oakville-Trafalgar once before. In 1990, just before the first game of the Leafs-Blues playoff series, his three-months pregnant wife called him in St. Louis to say she was having serious abdominal pain. Ron jumped on a plane but got stuck overnight in Pittsburgh. When he finally arrived, Cari had lost the child. The couple was devastated. They tried again, and then again, but at a certain point, it became clear they weren't meant to be parents. For 28 years, they'd only had each other. Now he feared the worst.I always wince a bit when people say that they (or others) "weren't meant to be parents." But yes, at a certain point, you have to decide whether to keep beating your head against a brick wall or move on with your life. Anyway, just one more thing I have in common with Ron MacLean. Who knew?