Saturday, October 7, 2017

Ron MacLean is "one of us"

If you're Canadian, you almost certainly know who Ron MacLean is (although he is a notch less famous than his regular Saturday night sidekick, Don Cherry).  In a nutshell, for the uninitiated/non-Canadian, he is one of Canada's most famous sportscasters, most commonly associated with the sport of hockey and the program Hockey Night in Canada, which has been broadcast on radio since the 1930s and on national television (first on CBC & now on Sportsnet) since 1952. 

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?


  1. Oh yes, like you I winced at the "weren't meant to be parents" comment. How annoying. Sigh.

  2. Aw that's a sad story. Yeah, I also didn't like the "weren't meant to be parents" comment. "At some point they realised it wasn't going to happen for them" would have been a better way of saying it.

  3. I'm starting to feel a strange kinship with people who don't have kids and maybe it's because it didn't work out. Nice to find a public figure in the camp... But UGH, the "weren't meant to be parents" implies some kind of horrid divine judgment. Why can't people just say "Parenthood didn't work out" or "it wasn't going to happen?" So much better than making it seem like there's some design behind it. And pulmonary embolism...yikes. A friend had one of those and it ended treatment for her -- terrifying thing to face, glad it all worked out!