Liv­ing le­gend

Forbes Kennedy book launch to fea­ture spe­cial guest Ron Ma­cLean

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY MITCH MAC­DON­ALD Mitch.mac­don­ald@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/Mitch_PEI

It’s an in­spi­ra­tional story that de­served to be writ­ten more than 20 years ago, says Gary MacDougall.

How­ever, MacDougall is happy to have the chance to tell the story now of one of P.E.I.’s most well­known hockey play­ers.

A book on Forbes Kennedy, ti­tled “For­bie,” will be launched on Nov. 28 at the P.E.I. Brew­ing Com­pany.

MacDougall, who split sec­tions of Kennedy’s life into dif­fer­ent “hockey pe­ri­ods” in the book, said the story is en­joy­able even to those who do not watch the sport.

“For­bie’s story is an in­spi­ra­tion… He was a lit­tle guy from (Char­lot­te­town’s east end) and he learned to skate on Kent Street,” said MacDougall, who is the former manag­ing ed­i­tor of The Guardian. “He’s a guy who got a cou­ple breaks along the way, back when there wouldn’t have been 120 play­ers in the NHL.”

Kennedy, a Strat­ford res­i­dent, played more than 600 games in the NHL with the Bos­ton Bru­ins, Chicago Black­hawks, Detroit Red Wings, Philadel­phia Fly­ers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

While many know Kennedy’s brawler rep­u­ta­tion, MacDougall noted there was much more to his char­ac­ter.

As a P.E.I. na­tive in the NHL, as well as through his char­ity work and decades of coach­ing ju­nior hockey and mi­nor base­ball, Kennedy in­spired many young Is­landers.

The book fea­tures many of those Is­land NHL play­ers and alumni, in­clud­ing Brad Richards, Adam McQuaid and Ger­ard (Turk) Gal­lant, who look up to Kennedy.

“They all love For­bie,” said MacDougall.

“For­bie touched the lives of hun­dreds of hun­dreds of young peo­ple.”

Don Cherry was also in­ter­viewed, and his Coach’s Cor­ner co-host Ron Ma­cLean, who has long lamented that a book should be writ­ten about Kennedy, pro­vided the fore­word.

Ma­cLean will also at­tend the book launch as a spe­cial guest.

“He’s been a long­time friend and big sup­porter of For­bie so we’re look­ing for­ward to hav­ing him,” said Jeremy Pierce, chair­man of the event com­mit­tee. “(For­bie) is a unique char­ac­ter who has had a last­ing im­pact on P.E.I. … He’s a per­son who typ­i­fies an Is­lan­der, his achieve­ments are renowned and should be rec­og­nized. We’re hop­ing the book will do that.”

The book was orig­i­nally an idea of Pearce and Larry Res­nitzky, of Retro­me­dia, who for sev­eral years would of­ten meet up with Kennedy to lis­ten to his sto­ries.

MacDougall, who also knew Kennedy through his years at The Guardian, was brought on ear­lier this year to write the book.

Ev­ery­one who at­tends the launch will get a copy of the book.

Tick­ets are $150 and or­ga­niz­ers said, af­ter ex­penses for the event are cov­ered, the re­main­der will be do­nated to the Sum­mer­side chap­ter of the Boys and Girls Club and an­other char­ity yet to be an­nounced, at Kennedy’s re­quest.

MITCH MAC­DON­ALD/THE GUARDIAN

Forbes Kennedy, left, and Gary MacDougall meet up at East­link Cen­tre prior to the launch of MacDougall’s book on the former NHLer, which will be ti­tled “For­bie.” Be­hind the two is a ban­ner that hangs in the cen­tre’s lobby that rec­og­nizes Kennedy and his im­pact on the hockey world.

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