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‘Always a flood of memories’: West Kelowna a special Hometown Hockey stop for Ron MacLean

Ron MacLean won’t need directions to navigate his way around the Central Okanagan this weekend.

The iconic Canadian sportscaster spent plenty of his youth in Westbank, as it was known in the time, and has no shortage of great memories from his time in the Okanagan.

“Westbank is where a lot of my youth was spent, so it’s especially neat to come (back),” explained MacLean, who spent that time in a home on Pritchard Drive just down the street from Premier Bill Bennett.

“Always a flood of memories, especially this time going out to West Kelowna.”

<who>Photo Credit: Hometown Hockey

This time around, he won’t have time to drink Kokanees and get out on the lake as he’s got a busy schedule ahead with Hometown Hockey.

The weekly segment and event comes to West Kelowna this weekend and there’s plenty on tap for its first visit to the Central Okanagan since it was in Kelowna in 2014.

“It’s a festival both days,” MacLean told KelownaNow. “Justin Schultz will be profiled, a really great story again on the Pursuit of Excellence Program. They had four girls out of that program (who) were on the women’s under-18 team that just won gold overseas, so we’ll touch on that.”

“We’ve got a great feature on Dan Craig, Don Cherry talks about him all the time, the ice maker. It’s a story about Zambonis and ice maintenance, that’s going to be a really nice feature on the show.”

The broadcast will also touch on the six Americans who are playing for the West Kelowna Warriors, including Hendersonville, Tennessee native Lucas Bahn.

MacLean said he’s looking forward to finding out about how six kids from below the 49th parallel end up playing hockey in West Kelowna.

He draws comparisons to how a Phoenix-native, Auston Matthews, is now a superstar for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Of course, it’ll be the Maple Leafs and Coyotes who are the featured game for Hometown Hockey this week, a 4 p.m. start time on Sunday that will be shown at an outdoor viewing party.

As always, MacLean will host the nationally televised broadcast on Sunday alongside Tara Slone, who arrives in the Okanagan today.

Slone will be visiting Indigenous Winery for another segment that viewers can look forward to on Sportsnet this weekend.

It won’t just be all about the Warriors this weekend either, as MacLean says there’s a couple of Kelowna Rockets-related segments to look forward to.

Former Rockets’ captain Josh Gorges, who just announced his retirement from professional hockey, will be on the broadcast.

<who>Photo Credit: Hometown Hockey

MacLean told KelownaNow he’s also trying to hook up with former Rocket Erik Gardiner for a segment on the show.

Like Gorges, Gardiner also announced his retirement from hockey this week.

His announcement came as a much bigger surprise, as the 19-year-old had the chance to be a key overage player for the Rockets during their Memorial Cup season in 2019-20.

Whether MacLean can get Gardiner on the broadcast or not, there’s clearly a lot to look forward to both in person and on the broadcast for Hometown Hockey this weekend.

You can see the full weekend schedule by clicking this link.

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