ABERCRMBIE – Hard work is as important as talent to succeed in hockey, Joey MacDonald says.
The former NHL goaltender was guest speaker last Thursday at a banquet for members of the Pictou County Bantam Crushers who participated in the 2020 Pictou County Memorial Bantam AA and Bantam AA Hockey tournament played last weekend at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
“You have to work hard,” he said. “My talent got me a long way. My work got me to the NHL. Hockey is a great game but you can’t take it for granted.”
MacDonald, who was born in Pictou and turned 40 last Friday, played briefly with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before three full seasons with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League.
He joined the Detroit Red Wings and played his first eight NHL games for them in 2006-07. He played another seven games that season with the Boston Bruins.
His longest NHL stint was the 49 games he played in 2008-09 with the New York Islanders.
MacDonald later played briefly with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Red Wings and the Calgary Flames and ended his NHL career with them in 2013-14, having played 133 games, posting a 3.00 goals-against average and a save percentage of .902.
He ended his playing career with parts of two seasons in Europe.
MacDonald named Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kolvachuk among the toughest shooters he faced and had high praise for the Red Wings roster in its prime under head coach Mike Babcock.
“He was hard,” MacDonald said. “He expected the best out of you. That’s why they were so good for decades.”
Former NHL goalie Joey MacDonald stands between Crushers captains Kaleb Melanson, left, and Gage Connors. (Goodwin photo)