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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 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
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11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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