Tracking the Storm

The Iceman Liveth

Friday, 05.13.2011 / 10:54 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Mike Sundheim
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The Iceman Liveth

Around 11 p.m. last night, Kyle Hanlin and I met up at a local establishment. We had received the shocking news of the passing of Donnie MacMillan just a few hours earlier, and were shifting out of PR-guy mode and into human-being mode.

We ordered up a couple of Donnie Mac’s favorite beverages, sat down in front of a television with his favorite sport on, and started sharing stories. It wasn’t difficult to remember plenty of them. I’m pretty sure you could put 10 RBC Center/Hurricanes employees in a room, and we could collectively tell story after story about Donnie Mac for days.

That’s just how Donnie Mac was, and how he will live on for all of us on Edwards Mill Road. Big and gregarious, Donnie Mac enjoyed life to its fullest and capitalized on every single day as much as anyone. As Kyle said, “Donnie Mac never had a bad day.” He was always busy, always doing something and always happy doing it. You’d see him on his lawn mower, cutting the grass around the RBC Center’s grounds at the crack of dawn, or on his Olympia, cleaning the ice late at night. Always looking perfectly content, as if there was literally no place he would rather be in the world. And there probably wasn’t.

From my professional perspective, Donnie Mac’s unique lifestyle and huge personality made him a featured attraction for media visiting Raleigh. Thinking about it today, it was probably a failing on my part that he never got his own reality show. I’d get funny questions like “Does the Zam driver live in that trailer back there?” or “Whose black cats are those roaming behind the arena” and serious ones like “How exactly do you keep the ice when it’s 90 degrees here in June?” From Sports Illustrated (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1025218/index.htm) to TSN and beyond, media loved Donnie Mac, and he was part of the landscape that made the Hurricanes and the RBC Center special. He truly enjoyed talking to anyone about his job. 

As incomparable and fun-loving as he could be, Donnie Mac was very serious about his job. He embraced the challenges of making great ice in a Southern climate, and worked his tail off at all hours of the day to that end. And his job went far beyond just ice. You would come across him in the bowels of the arena or out about the grounds, always busy on one project or the other. It’s almost hard to fathom how he can possibly be replaced, but I can’t imagine one person can do the job.

For now, we tell stories, shed a few tears and share some laughs. And we raise our blue motorcycles to the Ice Man, and loving every moment life gives us.

Follow Mike on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MikeSundheim

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72