Ron MacLean in 2006
Ronald Joseph Corbett MacLean
April 12, 1960
|Known for||Co-host of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada and playing Friday Night Hockey in Oakville, Ontario|
Ronald Joseph Corbett MacLean (born April 12, 1960) is a Canadian sportscaster for the CBC and Rogers Media who is best known as the host of Hockey Night in Canada from 1986 to 2014 and since 2016, and is also a hockey referee.
Early life and education
MacLean was born in Zweibrücken, West Germany, at the Zweibrücken Air Base on April 12, 1960, where his father was an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was stationed at the nearby Metz-Frescaty Air Base in Metz, France.
Ron MacLean Sr., born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, on May 4, 1922, married Lila MacDonald, from Iona, Nova Scotia, in July 1959. MacLean Sr. worked as a communications operator at Station Edmonton, while MacDonald was an airwoman/clerk stationed at RCAF Station Namao, just outside Edmonton. Fourteen months after MacLean's birth, the family moved back to Canada, initially settling in Chester, Nova Scotia. MacLean was four years old when his dad was stationed in Whitehorse, Yukon, with the Royal Canadian Air Force before relocating eventually in Sylvan Lake, Alberta.
He attended high school in Red Deer, Alberta, where he met his future wife Cari. After high school, MacLean was prepared to attend the University of Alberta until he was asked to fill in for a sick friend at CKRD-FM, which led to a job at CKRD-TV. Although he never attended university, MacLean received an honorary degree from the University of Alberta in 2019.
Hockey Night in Canada
MacLean has worked on Hockey Night in Canada since 1986–87. He began hosting telecasts in Toronto when Dave Hodge moved to Vancouver. Hodge was later suspended, and eventually quit, protesting a CBC programming decision on-air. He worked his first Stanley Cup Final that spring and has been the early game host ever since. Part of his duties included hosting Coach's Corner with Don Cherry.
Contract negotiations with CBC Sports Executive Director Nancy Lee and the president of English television had hit a standstill in the 2001–02 NHL season. MacLean threatened to leave CBC on the advice of his agent Don Meehan. That made headlines across Canada and following a huge public outcry, the CBC quickly gave in to his demands.
In addition to hosting HNIC, he has been a part of the CBC's Olympics coverage since 1988. He took over as chief anchor following the departure of Brian Williams to CTV/TSN. MacLean was the main sportscaster and host for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing until his mother died, causing him to hand over duties to Scott Russell. In 1993, MacLean served as an ice level reporter for NBC Sports' coverage of the NHL All-Star Game in Montreal. MacLean has also hosted CBC's coverage of the Queen's Plate.
Beginning with the 2014–15 NHL season, MacLean was hired by Rogers Media when the company acquired the national rights to the NHL. MacLean was removed from the host position of Hockey Night in Canada, but retained his role as host of Coach's Corner, and became an on-location host for the new, travelling Hometown Hockey broadcasts introduced that season. On June 27, 2016, Rogers announced that MacLean would be reinstated as host of the early games on Hockey Night beginning in the upcoming season, replacing George Stroumboulopoulos.
Awards and Honours
MacLean has won eight Gemini Awards for his work with CBC. His first was in 1992 for Best Sports Broadcaster; he also won the Best Sports Broadcaster award in 1994, 1997, 1998 and 2001. He won Best Host or Interviewer in a Sports Program or Sportscast in 2004 and again in 2006. In 1996, he was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. In 2015, he was inducted into the Oakville Sports Hall of Fame. In 2016, MacLean, along with his Coach's Corner co-host Don Cherry, received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.
On January 16, 2010, MacLean presented a pre-game piece together with NHL representative Colin Campbell focusing on Vancouver Canucks player Alexandre Burrows, in follow up to an earlier incident between Burrows and referee Stéphane Auger in which the credibility of Auger was called into question. The piece was considered by a number of prominent sports writers, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, and some fans to be a one-sided smear against Burrows. MacLean appeared on Vancouver-based sports radio show Team 1040 on January 18, 2010, and strongly denied being biased or one-sided during his presentation. In 2017, MacLean apologized to postal workers after suggesting their jobs were "effectively obsolete."
On November 9, 2019, MacLean's co-host Don Cherry made remarks during Coach's Corner suggesting that Canadian immigrants benefit from the sacrifices of veterans and do not wear remembrance poppies. MacLean, who nodded during Cherry's rant and flashed a thumbs-up sign at the end of Saturday's segment, apologized the following day for staying silent during Cherry's remarks. The following day, Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley announced that Cherry had been fired: "Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night's broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down." The following day, Cherry had expressed his disappointment over MacLean's apology. On November 16, 2019, MacLean addressed and reflected on the incident during Hockey Night in Canada, the first without Cherry, also announcing the end of Coach's Corner.
In addition to his work at the CBC, MacLean is a former Level 5 referee with Hockey Canada. He has refereed in junior, minor pro, senior, and university leagues across Canada, mostly in the Southern Ontario region. He served as a referee in the September 29, 2006 NHL preseason matchup of the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins, calling one penalty in the final minute of the game.
In popular culture
MacLean is the subject of the song "Dear Coach's Corner" composed by the Canadian punk band Propagandhi, on their album Supporting Caste. The lyrics of the song are composed in the form of a written letter to MacLean addressing the issue of military propaganda during pre-game ceremonies, an issue that the members of Propagandhi find problematic.
- Ron MacLean, Kirstie McLellan Day (2011). Cornered: Hijinks, Highlights, Late Nights and Insights. Harper Collins.
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- Nicholas Hune-Brown (2013). "Minutes from Death: How Ron MacLean's Wife Cari Came Back From the Brink". readersdigest.ca. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
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- "Pratt and Taylor with Ron Maclean". Team 1040.[permanent dead link]
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- "'You people': Don Cherry under fire for claiming new immigrants don't wear Remembrance Day poppies". The Canadian Press. 2019-11-10. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
- "Ron MacLean apologizes for not challenging Don Cherry's 'hurtful and prejudiced' comments". Global News. Retrieved 2019-11-12.
- "Don Cherry fired after scolding immigrants who don't wear poppies". CTV News. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
- "'I don't regret a thing': Don Cherry speaks out on his firing and Ron MacLean | CTV News". www.ctvnews.ca. Retrieved 2019-11-12.
- "'He buried me': Don Cherry says he's disappointed in co-host Ron MacLean". globalnews.ca. November 12, 2019.
- "MacLean calls first "Hockey Night" without Cherry the "end of an era"". theglobeandmail.com. November 16, 2019.
- "Ron MacLean addresses viewers in first Hockey Night in Canada without Don Cherry". globalnews.ca. November 16, 2019.
- "Ron MacLean referees NHL game". CBC News. September 30, 2006.
- Warmington, Joe (May 10, 2012). "Cherry stands by his pal MacLean". Toronto Sun. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
- "Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean jumps in river to save suicidal man". The National Post. Postmedia News. June 3, 2010. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
- "CBC Reads: Ron MacLean". CBC. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
- M, Darren (2 November 2009). "Interview with Propagandhi". Silver Sevens. Retrieved 10 August 2015.