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Ice-maker retires on a high

Allan McBain climbs onto the O'Leary Sports Centre's Zamboni for a final time. McBain retired as the arena's ice-maker Saturday, the same day that O'Leary won Kraft Hockeyville 2017.
Allan McBain climbs onto the O'Leary Sports Centre's Zamboni for a final time. McBain retired as the arena's ice-maker Saturday, the same day that O'Leary won Kraft Hockeyville 2017.

O’LEARY -- Thirty-five years after taking on the job as ice-maker at the O’Leary Community Sports Centre, Allan McBain officially retired Saturday, April 1.

But what a way to start retirement, right after O’Leary was declared Kraft Hockeyville 2017.

Interviewed prior to the announcement, McBain said he was confident of a win and would likely come back to help put the ice in, this fall, especially if O’Leary gets to host an NHL exhibition game.

Reminded that O’Leary has had a reputation for a good sheet of ice, McBain responded, “That’s what they tell me.

“We put a lot of work into it. We try to have a good sheet every time, no matter whether it is rec hockey or Maroons hockey, or NHL or whatever,” he commented.

McBain, 67, said he just felt it was time to retire. He plans to move west later this month but said he knows he will miss his work as ice-maker.

Highlights of his career included a Philadelphia Flyers training camp and an Irving Challenge Cup.

Sportsnet anchor Ken Reid, who was in O’Leary for the Hockeyville announcement party, remembers that Challenge Cup, too, as his brother played in the tournament with Pictou that year, scoring the tying goal with 26 seconds left in regulation time before Pictou lost in triple overtime. “So this rink has special meaning in my family, too,” Reid said.

Reid said he was impressed with O’Leary’s journey through Hockeyville.

“I’ve just seen a lot of passion for hockey and just how hockey brings a lot of people together. I think it’s really cool,” he commented.

An author of two books about hockey, Reid spent some time reading up on O’Leary’s Hockeytown P.E.I. book and suggested it conveys O’Leary’s passion for the game. “I think it’s great that a little town has its own book like that.”

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