WINNIPEG — He’s not a professional athlete or an actor, but the last time Winnipegger Mark Kohaykewych flew south for a winter escape, he was recognized by a fan at his Jamaican resort.
Kohaykewych runs a trucking company that is featured regularly on an increasingly popular show.
Ice Road Truckers‘ eighth season debuts Wednesday night on the History Channel, and this year it’s all about Manitoba’s northern ice roads.
“It definitely showcases our province,” Kohaykewych said.
Polar Industries ships “anything and everything” to all points north. In real life and on the show, Kohaykewych is in charge of organizing the trucks and shipments to make sure it all gets to Manitoba’s northern communities on time.
It’s hard work and at times very dangerous. Ice roads are built over frozen lakes, rivers and swamps and can be very precarious for trucks pulling 35-tonne loads.
“People don’t realize how easy it is to lose your life on those roads,” said driver Todd Dewey. “You roll on that ice for the first time and actually see it move and shift, and then you look out your window and see it crack four inches, it puts a chill up your spine.”
And draws in the viewers.
Kohaykewych regularly gets fan mail from as far away as Israel and Australia. Last season he even got drawings from a group of kid fans who watch the show from New Jersey.