By Daniel Rocchi
Lanny McDonald is a former player for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Rockies and Calgary Flames. McDonald scored 500 career goals over more than 1,100 NHL games from 1973 to 1989 and co-captained the Flames to the franchise’s only Stanley Cup in 1989. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992 and was named the chairman of its board of directors in 2015.
The Eyeopener had the opportunity to speak briefly with McDonald when he was at Ryerson last week as part of a panel of former hockey greats.
Q: When you watch a Flames-Leafs game, who do you cheer for?
A: Because I live in Calgary, it’s pretty tough. So I’m always cheering for the game to end in a tie, and then I cheer for Calgary to win it in overtime or a shootout.
Q: What comparison do you see between Johnny Gaudreau and Theo Fleury, if any?
A: Well, I think there’s a lot. To be able to play the game at that level at the size they are is absolutely phenomenal. They’re great athletes and with their speed and stickhandling ability, they’re survivors and they’re fun to watch.
Q: Yourself and Ray Bourque are two examples of guys that had great careers and then in their last year they achieved it and right now there’s another Flame, a former Flame that’s looking to do the same thing. Have you spoken to Jarome [Iginla] at all or had any sort of contact with him about the quest for the Cup?
A: I have, and obviously it’s disappointing for him and where L.A. is going to end up this year, unfortunately out of the playoffs. I did speak to Jarome when he was back in Calgary and if you looked at the last couple games he played in Edmonton and Calgary, he dropped the gloves twice trying to spark his team on to victory. When that happens, when that comes from your 600-plus goal-scorer, that tells you what kind of guy he is.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Olympic decision?
A: You know, I’m very disappointed. Obviously, I would love to see—I was at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, again in 2010 in Vancouver and absolutely loved it. I just think it’s all about on best-on-best and we all want to see the best players in the world play for their country.
Q: Do you think they will go?
A: I thought there was no question, now there’s a little bit of a seed of doubt but I’m still holding out hope.
Q: I’m not sure how much you know about the team here, but they’re actually coming off a record year; they’re doing some great things. Have you had the chance to meet the coaching staff and chat with them at all?
A: No, I haven’t had a chance to speak to them. I do know about their season and I think it’s absolutely phenomenal. I think having this opportunity to not only be in this building but have it connected to a great association like Ryerson, I think that is awesome.
Q: Who’s going to win the Cup first, the Leafs or the Flames?
A: I don’t care, as long as we both do.