What better way to learn about the topic of your school heritage project than meeting in-person with the subject?
Kidston Elementary Grade 6 student Marcel Green, who plays hockey for the Vernon Tier 3 Pee Wee Vipers, decided to enter next month’s school Heritage Fair with a project on hockey hall of famer Lanny McDonald.
When Green found out McDonald, a former member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Rockies and Calgary Flames, was going to be in Vernon for the 46th annual Vernon Winter Carnival Coca-Cola Classic Pee Wee Invitational tournament, Green requested an interview with McDonald (coaching the Montana Thunderblades, one of the seven out-of-town teams).
McDonald, like he did throughout the weekend, posing for hundreds of pictures and signing autographs, graciously agreed and sat down for a video interview with Green in the Vernon Civic Arena concession.
In 10 minutes, Green – wearing a Calgary Flames hat and jersey – asked McDonald 16 questions on a range of topics, starting with McDonald’s favourite type of skates (Bauer) and sticks (Koho and Canadien brand).
McDonald also answered about his best friend from hockey (Darryl Sittler when he played with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and “Colin Patterson when I was with Calgary. He and I were both fortunate to score in the game where we won the Stanley Cup”), his favourite pet (old sheep dog named Bo), and was nearly stumped when Green asked him if he could meet anybody famous, who would it be.
“Well I’ve been lucky to meet the Queen and Princess Di, before she passed away…boy, what a great question. Good for you,” said McDonald. “I think maybe it would be a guy who tried to change the world: Nelson Mandela.”
Asked what he would change about hockey today, McDonald said he’d put the red line back in play and make the ice surface bigger “because players have gotten bigger, stronger and faster and there’s no room out there on the ice anymore.”
Green’s final question asked McDonald what he would tell himself before being drafted.
“Well, like I tell both my kids and my grandkids, have fun everyday and look forward to going to the rink,” he said. “There’s no greater kinship that in the dressing room. Just enjoy yourself, whether you’re playing this sport or any sport.”
McDonald thanked Green for the interview with a handshake and a smile, and happily posed for a couple of photos.