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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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81