Lanny McDonald, the World Cup and Dreams of Playing Hockey

With the hype that surrounded the revamped World Cup of Hockey leading up to the middle of this month, it seemed only fitting that Scotiabank would release arguably one of the best hockey commercials in recent memory.

The commercial – part of the bank’s fifth season initiative aimed to connect young players with the great game of hockey – features some of the greatest moments in the game’s history. While it does replay some of the actual footage of these historical goals, the ad is driven by the recreation of these moments by young hockey fans.

With that said, for those who haven’t had a chance to watch it, take a look at what Scotiabank put together.

YouTube player

Remembering the Moment

Hall of Famer and former Calgary Flames forward, Lanny McDonald, was fortunate enough to be part of the commercial. His ‘moment’ was the final goal of his career and one that came at a significant time for the Flames.

The goal gave the Flames a 2-1 lead in Game 6 of the 1989 Stanley Cup Final against Montreal. Calgary went on to score two more goals to take the game 4-2 and win the Stanley Cup. McDonald, however, remembers that goal much more vividly.

“First of all, I had a great opportunity to score just before that and missed that opportunity,” said McDonald. “I ended up trying to get the puck back when I lost it in the corner and took a penalty on Bobby Smith. I was sitting in the penalty box – just dying inside – saying prayers over and over again that they don’t score and then coming out of the box and being right in this three-on-two with Nieuwendyk and Hakan Loob.

When you see the pass, first of all, from Loob over to Nieuwendyk on the left wing and the pass that he throws through Chelios’ skate and stick right onto my tape… and you know when Patrick Roy goes side to side you’ve got to go top shelf because he covers everything on the lower quarters of the net. When the puck went in, skating around that corner, and I can picture it in my mind easily as that young boy (in the commercial) comes around the corner and all of a sudden there’s the commercial.”

Lanny McDonald, Calgary Flames, NHL, Hockey
Lanny McDonald scored his final career goal on one of the biggest stages for the Calgary Flames.

And that’s what the fifth season is about – connecting the young players with the game they love so much. For young players, it’s about living their hockey dreams – dreams that even players like McDonald had when they were kids.

Living the Hockey Dream

“You grow up loving the game,” said McDonald referring back to his childhood hockey dreams. “You don’t ever even think about playing in the NHL until you get through your teen years and now you’re playing junior hockey and you think, ‘Oh man, maybe this is a possibility.’”

McDonald played two seasons with the AJHL’s Lethbridge Sugar Kings from 1969 to 1971 collecting 93 points (39g-54a) in 79 games. From there, he spent parts of three seasons in the WCHL with the Calgary Centennials and the Medicine Hat Tigers where he combined for 255 points (102g-143a) in 142 games. But it doesn’t just start there.

“Even growing up playing on the street or playing with your brother, shooting pucks against the garage, you’re Gordie Howe or Andy Bathgate,” he said. “Or if your brother puts on the goalie equipment, then you’re shooting at him and he’s Johnny Bower. That is so real and that’s why this commercial comes across, because everyone looks back at their childhood and that’s where you were. You were out playing with your friends.”

McDonald went on to say that seeing the kids recreate some of the greatest moment in the game’s history was important to show the support that Scotiabank has for hockey across the country. On top of that, as a sponsor for the World Cup, Scotiabank’s latest ad helps to grow the game among youth. While it’s targeted at Canadian fans, you can’t help but see the support that binds the game and these young fans across the globe.

Lanny, Canada, and the World Cup of Hockey

During his career, McDonald represented his country on the big stage on two occasions. He wore the Canadian colours during the 1976 Canada Cup notching two assists in five games and the scored three goals in eight games during the 1981 World Championships.

While many have questioned the legitimacy of the World Cup since it was brought back by the NHL, McDonald explains that it still has importance to the players and that the pride they feel should resonate amongst fans.

“I think it’s absolutely phenomenal,” he said. “When you think about it, it was a stroke of genius. You put the North American young guns team together and they weren’t afraid to try anything. Obviously the rivalries between Canada and the U.S., Canada and Russia, you’ve the got the Finns and the Swedes who love to hate each other or get the best of each other. It’s just an awesome format. It’s a great competition.”

So with the finals set to kick off tonight between the host Canadians and Team Europe, who does McDonald have winning it all?

“I gotta say Canada,” he said. “When you have Sidney Crosby on the team and you look at their line with Bergeron – what an underrated player – and Marchand, it couldn’t serve Canada better.”

McDonald closed by saying that hockey will always be a part of his life. As the chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame, he tries to instil the same love for the game in his grandchildren that he had growing up in the same way that Scotiabank tries to grow the game through their fifth season ads and arguably the best hockey commercial.

The Hockey Writers coverage of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 is being brought to you by PrimeSport, the official Fan Travel & Hospitality Package Partner of the World Cup of Hockey 2016.