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Ron MacLean

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Ron MacLean

Ron MacLean
Ron MacLean in 2006
Born Ronald Joseph Corbett MacLean
(1960-04-12) April 12, 1960
Zweibrücken, West Germany
Employer CBC
Known for Co-host of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada and playing Friday Night Hockey in Oakville, Ontario

Ronald Joseph Corbett "Ron" MacLean[1] (born April 12, 1960) is a Canadian sportscaster for the CBC who is best known as the host of Hockey Night in Canada from 1987 to 2014, and is also a hockey referee.


Early life and career

MacLean was born in Zweibrücken, West Germany at the Zweibrücken Air Base; his father, an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force, was stationed at the nearby Metz-Frescaty Air Base in Metz, France. MacLean is of Scottish heritage on both his mother's and father's side. Fourteen months later the family moved back to Canada where he was raised in Chester, Nova Scotia followed by Whitehorse, Yukon (for 5 years) and Red Deer, Alberta. His broadcasting career began in 1978 when he took a part-time position at CKRD-FM (FM 98.9), followed by duties at CKRD-AM (AM 850), and eventually a position as a weather presenter at CKRD-TV. According to his biography he was called by the Program Director at the time (Martin Smith) to fill in for a sick friend who had recommended him. His initial duties were little more than pushing buttons and playing commercials, however, he was soon granted the opportunity to become a disc jockey. Ron MacLean was still in high school at the time.

Hockey Night in Canada

MacLean (right) with Don Cherry at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

MacLean has worked on Hockey Night in Canada since 1986–87. He began anchoring telecasts out of western Canada, but near the end of the season was moved to Toronto games when Dave Hodge was fired protesting a CBC programming decision on-air. He worked his first Stanley Cup Final that spring and has been the primary game host ever since. Part of his duties include 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.[2] That made headlines across Canada and following a huge public outcry, the CBC quickly gave in to his demands.[3][4]

McLean in 2013 at a CBC Live event

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.[5] 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.[6]

Awards and honours

MacLean has won eight Gemini Awards for his work with CBC.[7] 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.


On January 16, 2010, Ron 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[8] 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.[9][10][11] Ron 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.[12]

Hockey Canada

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,[13] calling one penalty in the final minute of the game.

MacLean was named Honorary Colonel of the 1 Air Movements Squadron at 17 Wing Winnipeg of the Canadian Forces Air Command.

Personal life

He, his wife Cari, and his Standard Schnauzer live in Oakville, Ontario.

On June 3, 2010, he helped to rescue a man trying to take his own life, by jumping into the Delaware River in Philadelphia.[14] MacLean and a few others sprung into action. He grabbed a velvet rope, jumped a wrought-iron railing and ran down to the water. When he arrived he saw another man had already jumped into the river and pulled the man to a raft. MacLean says he and a couple of staff from the hotel used the velvet rope to pull the man onto the wharf, while the person who had jumped in to save him climbed out.

Popular Reference

MacLean is referenced in the song "Canadian Girls" by Canadian country music recording artist Dean Brody.

MacLean is also referenced in the song "Dear Coach's Corner" by Canadian punk music band Propagandhi. The song discusses the intertwining of sports with patriotism (in the form of military engagements overseas).


  1. ^ Cornered: Hijinks, Highlights, Late Nights and Insights - Ron MacLean, Kirstie McLellan Day - Google Books. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  2. ^ Playing the Game (Page 3)
  3. ^ Macleancbc1002a
  4. ^
  5. ^ olympics-ron-maclean
  6. ^ "2008 Queen's Plate Entries". Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  7. ^ " - Program Guide - Ron MacLean". Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. 
  8. ^ "Burrows slams referee after loss to Predators".  
  9. ^ "Burrows given no chance to defend himself".  
  10. ^ "Alex Burrows ignores character assassination".  
  11. ^ "Vigneault slams CBC's Maclean".  
  12. ^ "Pratt and Taylor with Ron Maclean".  
  13. ^ "Ron MacLean referees NHL game". CBC News. September 30, 2006. 
  14. ^ "Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean jumps in river to save suicidal man". The National Post. Postmedia News. June 3, 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 

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