‘His heart is here’: Winnipeg legend Ab McDonald inducted into Jets’ Hall of Fame
If you look purely at his on-ice accomplishments, Alvin ‘Ab’ McDonald is a hockey legend in his own right.
He was the first captain of the Winnipeg Jets and scored the first goal of the Jets’ World Hockey Association era. He was a four-time Stanley Cup champion, winning the cup in four consecutive seasons from 1958-1961.
“He scored the winning goal to beat Montreal out of the semi and then he scored the winning goal for Chicago to win the cup that year,” his son David McDonald told Global News. “He wouldn’t tell me that. I had to ask him.”
It is a moment that is a perfect testament to exactly who McDonald was and the man his family remembers.
“He was very humble,” David said. “He was my father but he was a good friend of mine.”
McDonald, a native of Winnipeg, played 14 seasons in the NHL from 1958-72.
“I think of all the good friends he made playing hockey,” David said. “He just loved his teammates.”
But no matter where he played, Winnipeg was always home.
“His heart is here and that’s why he always came back,” his son said. “At the end of every season, we would come back to Winnipeg. We always came back to Winnipeg.”
When McDonald passed away from cancer at the age of 82, there was an outpouring of grief from the hockey community, former teammates and his former team.
“We at True North Sports & Entertainment and the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club are saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. McDonald,” Mark Chipman said in a statement last September.
“He was a legend in this city’s hockey history … As a Winnipegger, he made this city proud by also playing 14 seasons in the NHL and capturing four Stanley Cups. His reputation as an outstanding teammate carried over into his life after hockey.
Words of support and love his family still holds on to.
“It makes me cry… just knowing that is what people thought of him,” David said. “And I knew that, talking to them about my dad, he had lots of good friends here. It was great to hear. We were very proud of him.”
Sixteen members of the McDonald family, including Ab’s wife and five children, will all be inside Bell MTS Place Tuesday night when TNSE honours him and his legacy.
WATCH: Winnipeg Jet great Teemu Selanne headlines 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame class
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.