Hometown hosts enjoy Winkler experience

Hosts Tara Slone and Ron MacClean. Rogers Hometown Hockey, Winkler. (LAUREN MACGILL/Winkler Times)

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While the City of Winkler was preparing for their first ever time on Rogers Hometown Hockey, hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Slone were preparing for their 21st of the season, in their fifth year of the show.
But that doesn’t mean it’s all old hat for the hosts who say they’re still loving every minute of the show.
For Ron MacLean it was a chance to get back to Winkler after spending five days here in 2008.
“It was just a really lovely few days learning about the history of a fascinating town,” he said.
MacLean referenced the history book called “Between Worlds” saying it was an apt name.
“It’s a great hockey town dating back to the ‘20s when the mayor built a rink, but it’s also a Mennonite community,” he said. “It’s a fascinating mix of their history, of the Mexican cuisine… who’d have known you could go to the rink and get tacos in a bag?”
MacLean said getting the chance to talk with Eddie Belfour and Grant Clitsome was part of the highlight. “(Ed) has just been fabulous for Carman and the hockey scene in that area,” he said.
The show continues to be popular coast to coast, and MacLean isn’t surprised, saying as a child he was drawn to a show call Wide World of Sports. “That took you all over the globe and taught you about Irish hurling, and how ski jumping was the number one sport in Finland, about Rugby and Australian rules football,” he said. “I think for use Canadians to see how each other lives and how we come to the game I think is exciting.”
“I think it’s important because we get to showcase all different versions of the game, whether it’s women, sledge, or hockey for blind/disabled… it’s all about inclusiveness,” he said. “I just think it’s a really nice reflection of Canadians.
Tara Slone has been an actor/singer but said she loves this job on Hometown Hockey.
“I grew up a massive hockey fan,” she said. “I never played the game but for my father and I it was a weekly ritual to sit in front of Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays.”
Growing up in Montreal they were Habs fans. “I was a big fan and always drawn to the culture,” she said.
While there are 25 shows to do this season, it never gets old for Slone.
“We are constantly meeting people who inspire us, whose stories inspire us learning about history, there’s just so much to unearth but really the personal interactions are what makes it special,” she said.
Slone loves what the event can do for communities as well.
“It’s nice to have something family friendly and free,” she said. “I’m a parent, I know how hard it is to entertain your kids.”