In Feb. 2023, Craigmyle native Lanny McDonald turned 70! One of the most popular players in Calgary Flames history, Lanny’s personality and bushy red mustache helped to make him one of the most iconic figures within the sport of hockey.
Lanny grew up on the family farm, outside of Craigmyle and played hockey in Hanna with his brother. He finished high school in Lethbridge, spent time playing with the AJHL, WCHL and at the age of 20 began his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Before his acquisition by the Calgary Flames in 1981, McDonald played a full season with the Colorado Rockies.
In 1989, at 36 years of age, McDonald led the Flames to their only Stanley Cup Championship. Lanny McDonald was the first member of the Flames to carry the trophy as the team paraded in celebration.
Lanny’s life and career have been filled with awards, honours and philanthrophy. He has received the King Clancy Memorial Trophy (exemplifies leadership on the ice with humanitarian contributions off the ice) and is a two-time recipient of the Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award. He has been very involved with the Alberta Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Special Olympics. His autobiography, Lanny, became a Canadian best-seller, resulting in the publisher donating $10,000 to the Special Olympics.
Lanny was the first player honoured by the Calgary Flames when his #9 was retired and raised to the rafters in the Calgary Saddledome. He was the first Calgary Flame to become inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He has also been inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and in 2022 was named to the Order of Hockey in Canada.
Considered an ambassador of the sport, Lanny is no stranger to the town where he first learned and played the sport of hockey. Lanny’s jersey is proudly displayed in the Hanna Arena and, in recognition of his 70th birthday, members of the Calgary Flames Alumni, reached out to Town Administration with a unique request.
In January of 2023, Al Coates, former General Manager of the Calgary Flames from 1995-2000, contacted Chief Administrative Officer Kim Neill to see if the Town of Hanna might have a surplus photo of the Hanna entrance sign. Coincidentally, the Town of Hanna was in the process of replacing all signs in a recently approved signage program. Hanna’s long-standing iconic signs were going to be removed in the spring of 2023. Mr. Neill suggested that since there were 3 of them, it would be an honour if they would like to gift one to Lanny.
In Feb 2023, Town Council approved a motion to donate one of the Town of Hanna entrance signs to the Calgary Flames Alumni to be presented as a 70th Birthday gift for Lanny McDonald. A celebration was held, February 18, 2023, where Lanny was presented with a framed picture of his future gift.
Shortly after, Town staff received the following correspondence from Al Coates.
“Here is a picture of Lanny and his wife Ardell with the sign. Thank you, Laurie and Kim for helping with this. As you can see, he was thrilled. Some of the guys from our ’89 Cup team were present and we had some good fun. Maybe the most fun was seeing him speechless, it doesn’t happen very often. He walked around posing for pictures with that sign for an hour.
We will stay in touch on picking up the big sign but in the meantime thank you both, Town Council, and Hanna residents ever so much!”
On June 20, 2023 Al Coates and Colin Patterson, former Flames forward, arrived in Hanna to load the Town of Hanna sign. “We aren’t positive”, said Al Coates, “but we are hoping to see the sign in one of the family restaurants.”
The Town of Hanna was pleased to work with the Flames Alumni, specifically Mr. Al Coates and Mr. Colin Patterson and are honoured that this piece of history went to such a great ambassador.
Happy 70th Birthday Lanny!