Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest’s eagerly anticipated drive with famous broadcaster Ron MacLean was sidetracked by the weather.
MacLean was in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, on Jan. 20 and had to fly all the way to Duncan Sunday, Jan. 21 to co-host the live Rogers Hometown Hockey broadcast in Duncan.
Forrest was chosen to pick the hockey broadcast legend up at the airport, originally in Maple Bay, and drive him to Duncan for the celebration.
But high winds and other wild weather intervened in these carefully laid plans, Forrest said.
“We didn’t know when he’d be arriving. First, we were supposed to pick him up at Maple Bay. The weather was very uncertain and at 9 o’clock I was waiting to hear if we were going to Victoria to pick him up or to Maple Bay. So we waited and waited as it went back and forth, to find out where he was landing.
“Finally at 10:50 a.m. they said, ‘You’ve got to go to Victoria. He’s going Victoria way.’ He was going to be in the plane at 12, which would have made him late for the opening stages. So I headed out to go and get him, and then, about halfway there, I heard there’s been a change of plan and I’d have to turn around and come back because he was flying to Nanaimo and they were going to pick him up there.”
For Forrest, that meant a drive back to Duncan without MacLean.
“So I didn’t get to pick him up, but I did get to meet him and I’m really thankful that I did.
“So, while as a hockey fan, I’m disappointed. Who wouldn’t want an hour speaking with Ron MacLean? But as a community person, I was glad he was able to get into Duncan on time and to be there for everybody.
“The whole Hometown Hockey event was amazing. They did a great feature on Dawn Coe, too. He [MacLean] had worked with her before and liked her. I think that was one of the reasons they asked me to go and pick him up was the connection with Dawn Coe and Lake Cowichan. So, I was hanging on Dawn’s coattails, but I know she wouldn’t mind and I think what they did about her was awesome.”
Forrest concluded, “I think Rogers Hometown Hockey was a tremendous event for bringing all the communities of the Cowichan Valley together. They had something for every community, whether it was Lake Cowichan or Ladysmith, or whatever. I thought it was very nice we were all included.”