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NHL Heritage Classic

McDonald reminisces about playing hockey outdoors before Heritage Classic

Hockey Hall of Famer believes Flames game against Jets will be special for fans in Regina

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

REGINA, Saskatchewan -- Lanny McDonald lights up when asked about playing hockey outdoors.

At the age of 11, the future co-captain and Stanley Cup winner with the Calgary Flames was growing up in Hanna, Alberta and playing regularly on an outdoor rink flooded by his father. The rink had 14-inch boards on the side and relied on packed, hardened snow at its ends so pucks would not be lost.


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"One day I forgot my skates," said the forward, now 66, who had 1,006 points (500 goals, 506 assists) in 1,111 NHL games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Rockies and Flames. "My mother had figure skates so at noon time, I tried her skates because I had forgotten mine at home. They didn't work very well because I kept catching a pick. But I was smart enough to know how to sharpen skates, so I went inside and ground the picks off of mom's skates.

"I got grounded for the longest time. My mother was absolutely livid. After my dad chuckled a couple of times, he said, 'You know, that's not the smartest move.' We weren't that rich, so it took a long time for mom to replace those skates. And I'm not sure she ever forgave me for that one."

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McDonald, the chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame, was inducted into the Hall in 1992 and he was one of the Flames alumni that took part in the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic Legacy Luncheon.

The Flames and Winnipeg Jets play in the Heritage Classic game at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN1, CITY, TVAS2, NHL.TV).

"It's absolutely fabulous," McDonald said Friday. "Look at this room. There are probably 1,000 people and they're all hockey fans and they had a great celebration. What better place, right in the middle of the two cities, to have this outdoor game. The Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic will be probably be remembered more here in Saskatchewan than any other Classic for a long, long time."

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