Lanny McDon­ald, Cal­gary Flames great & Hockey Hall of Fame chair­man

StarMetro Calgary - - CREB NOW - GE­ORGE JOHN­SON

Iconic sta­tus was off in the fu­ture for the 22-year-old winger. The bushy mous­tache had yet to grow out and be­come a trade­mark.

“We bought our first home year three in Toronto,” said Lanny McDon­ald, rem­i­nisc­ing. “We’d just got­ten mar­ried. The house was out in Port Credit. Mi­ne­ola Street, I be­lieve. A bun­ga­low that had a bonus room up above the garage.

“And it was the scari­est thing in the world. Oh my gosh. I think it cost $125,000. We were mak­ing a good liv­ing, cer­tainly no com­plaints, but buy­ing a first house is ab­so­lutely fright­en­ing. Luck­ily, it turned out to be ab­so­lutely awe­some.

“Darryl (Sit­tler) lived just down the way, on Mis­sis­sauga Road. Wendy (Sit­tler) and (my wife) Ardell be­came great friends. Darryl and I would drive into the games and prac­tices to­gether.

“We had a great time in that first house. But that com­mit­ment … sign­ing your name? Oh my God.”

For McDon­ald – the Hockey Hall of Famer and 1989 Stan­ley Cup cham­pion whose iconic No. 9 was re­tired by the Cal­gary Flames in 1990 – his num­ber-one pri­or­ity in a home never changes.

“For me, it has to have the big­gest kitchen and fam­ily room, at­tached, as pos­si­ble. Be­cause that’s where ev­ery­one spends the bulk of their time,” he said. “You’re hang­ing out over the kitchen counter with the kids. En­joy­ing a few drinks with friends. There’s laugh­ter, con­ver­sa­tion. The fam­ily room/kitchen area is the hub.”

The Mc­Don­alds have owned homes at four dif­fer­ent ad­dresses.

“We pur­chased two houses in Toronto,’’ he said. “Then we go to Colorado, rent the first year-and-ahalf. So I talk with own­er­ship, look­ing for a lit­tle se­cu­rity lifestyle-wise, and they say, ‘You’re not go­ing any­where. You’re here for life.’ Great. We buy a new house out in a new area and, you guessed it, I’m traded to the Flames twoand-a-half months later.

“We hadn’t even fin­ished the yard.”

Since ar­riv­ing in Cal­gary

in November 1982, the fam­ily has resided in Spring­bank, ren­o­vat­ing their prop­erty four times rather than pack­ing up to re­lo­cate.

“It’s been fab­u­lous,” he said. “All our kids went though the school sys­tem in the area. The boys played hockey. And now our grand­kids have moved back from Mon­tana and they’re at­tend­ing Spring­bank and The Edge. Talk about com­ing full cir­cle.”

Through the in­ter­ven­ing years, an older McDon­ald, now chair­man of the Hockey Hall of Fame, has oc­ca­sion­ally re­turned to his res­i­den­tial roots on Mi­ne­ola Street.

“They’ve bull­dozed all the houses there and built man­sions,’’ he said, laugh­ing. “I wish we still had the lot. Be­cause you’re prob­a­bly talk­ing about $2-to-$2.5-mil­lion homes now.

“I mean, $125,000 sure won’t buy you much there to­day.”

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