Chris MacDonald’s hire a season ago by the Moncton Wildcats flew under the radar.
The Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia product spent the 2019-20 season as an assistant equipment manager for the Laval Rocket, of the American Hockey League before deciding to come back home so to speak to the Maritimes.
You see equipment managers always fly under the radar. They’re the glue of any organization. They are seldom heard, but always seen trouble shooting during games, but their craft is predominantly done behind the scenes. The glue of the organization don’t want any accolades or attention, they are the unsung heroes of the team.
Equipment managers see it all behind the scenes, they live the day to day hockey action and grind like no other.
Chris MacDonald has definitely experienced the grind and he wouldn’t change it for the world.
Prior to making the move to Laval, MacDonald was the equipment manager for the Halifax Mooseheads for 11 seasons.
MacDonald’s foray into international hockey also proved to be successful winning World Junior Hockey Championship gold and silver medals as an equipment manager for Canada’s national junior team.
All of the hard work, long hours and dedication behind the scenes is what matters most to MacDonald.
“Our days are long, but being organized really helps,”MacDonald said.
“We are just trying to help the team day in and day out.”
“Us equipment managers make sure everyone has what they need and that they are ready to play.”
“We help them out by making sure they have everything they need to succeed.”
Spoken like an ultimate teammate and leader, you see it’s always been about the team and organization for MacDonald.
“I am very excited to be a Wildcat,” stressed MacDonald when asked about the decision to come back to the QMJHL.
“I always knew how great this organization was, but I realized it first hand as I walked through the door on my first day and I was welcomed with open arms.”
“I’m ecstatic to be a Wildcat. This is a very classy organization, and I’m honoured to be here.”
It’s always been about team, but ask any current and former player about the impact equipment managers have and they will instantly start talking about the special bond they all share.
That bond is all about family, all about unity. That bond transcends the game.
The connection between all equipment managers, their players and their fraternity is truly remarkable.
“We all work together for a common goal, we are just on opposite teams,” MacDonald said of bond amongst his colleagues across the hockey world.
“We all have a job to do, most of my closest friends are equipment managers in the QMJHL and the various other leagues around North America.”
“We pick each other’s mind and we all help to better ourselves.”
“At the end of the day, we all know the work we put in.”
Incredibly difficult, but yet extremely rewarding, a job and career like no other.
It’s difficult for MacDonald to pin point his fondest memory in the game.
“There are so many amazing memories as my journey continues with the Moncton Wildcats.”
“Winning the President Cup and Memorial Cup with Halifax in 2013, winning gold in with Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior championships, winning a CIS National title with Saint Mary’s University in 2010, hosting the Memorial Cup in Halifax in 2019 are all incredibly special.”
“At the end of the day being able to celebrate these accomplishments with family is just as important,” stressed MacDonald.
What advice would MacDonald serve up to young people aspiring to fulfill the role as equipment managers in the future?
“I would tell them to hone your craft, get better each day.”
“Keep your eyes and ears open and ask lots of questions.”
MacDonald still dreams big when it comes to the game and his life and career within.
“Right now I’m just looking forward and trying to help this amazing coaching and support staff bring another championship to Moncton and to help these young men succeed.”
“I might try to get another shot at working with Team Canada at World Juniors, but my heart is in the Maritimes as my children are in Halifax,” said MacDonald.
Chris MacDonald is all heart, he’s the glue that the Moncton Wildcats need as they build towards a championship in the years to come.
The first to arrive the last to leave, the dressing room is their sanctuary, the team and the organization their second family.
The work of the equipment manager never ends.
“I just think of it as family. It’s so much fun.”
“I just try to do my part as everyone else are doing their part, it’s a passion, I never consider it as a job,” MacDonald said.