Former NHL coach considering PC leadership

Teresa Wright
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Doug MacLean

Celebrity sportscaster and former NHL coach Doug MacLean says he considering suggestions from local Tory insiders that he should run for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party.

MacLean says he is nowhere near a final decision on the matter, but is considering it as a potential option for his future.

“I have no idea whether I’m going to do it or not, but it’s an honour and I’m going to think about it,” he said.

MacLean is just one of many names being added to lists of potential leadership candidates ever since current Opposition Leader Olive Crane announced last week she is resigning as the leader of the PC party on Jan. 30.

MacLean says he was approached by a group of party members two years ago, shortly before the last PC leadership convention.

At that time he was asked to decide right away whether he would like to run. He says the deadline was too tight for him and he declined.

This time, he was called the very day Crane announced her resignation.

Now he says he’ll give it some thought.

But don’t expect him to mount a campaign anytime soon. MacLean says he was told by the group of party insiders encouraging him to run he would not be expected to announce for another two years.

“They’ve basically said they’re not going to do anything for a couple of years so that will make it a little easier to think it through,” MacLean said.

He admits he has never been involved with the party and would have to make a big change in his current living situation – he lives in Florida, commutes to Toronto for work and summers in P.E.I.

But since his commitment with Rogers Sportsnet expires in a few years, he is not ruling out the idea of throwing his hat in the leadership race.

“I’m going to consider it, I’ll talk to my family about it, talk to some friends about it… I’ll thoroughly think through it and make a decision because it’s a monumental commitment.”

In the meantime, the PC party will have to determine who will be the interim leader of the party.

Party president Blake Doyle says this will be decided by a vote of the executive and Conservative MLAs 30 days after Crane has resigned. That places the vote on March 1, 2013.

“I have no idea whether I’m going to do it or not, but it’s an honour and I’m going to think about it,” Doug MacLean

So far, no one has officially put their name forward for the interim leader position and Crane has said she is not interested in taking this on.

But since she and the Tory caucus have decided she would stay on as Opposition leader, this has created much confusion about what role the interim leader will play.

Doyle said there could be many different scenarios that take shape, including an interim leader of the party who is not currently an elected member or an interim leader alongside Opposition leader Olive Crane within the Tory caucus.

UPEI political science professor Peter McKenna said this would create a great deal of confusion over who would take the lead in the party, especially when the legislature is in session.

“Who would decide or speak for the party?” he said.

McKenna says he is perplexed over Crane’s decision to stay on as Opposition leader if she does not plan to continue as either party leader or interim leader.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before… it can’t be good for the PC party of P.E.I.,” he said.

“I think there’s just way too much uncertainty and confusion for Island voters.”

Doyle, on the other hand, remains positive.

He plans to meet with the PC MLAs Thursday and with the party executive early in the New Year to discuss plans for electing an interim leader.

The leadership convention itself, meanwhile, could be as far away as 2015.

“We’ve got a lot of interest in the party with everything that’s happening and this is just a very mechanical process that will work itself out in short order and the party will continue to advance on our agenda,” Doyle said.


Organizations: Tory, NHL, Rogers Sportsnet PC MLAs

Geographic location: Florida, Toronto, P.E.I. Iceland

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Recent comments

  • Gerard
    December 13, 2012 - 21:36

    Please don't waste your TIME or MONEY Doug MacLean, you do a good job in your hockey career........... You will NEVER get elected as premier on this island, First of all you have to be CORRUPT like the liberal govt. we have now. You appear to be a great person at what you do........... Getting into govt. here on P. E. I. will prove to be a BIG mistake.......TRUST ME.

  • Robot Gizz
    December 13, 2012 - 18:52

    Come-on,give me a break.Since when does hockey coach or broad casting have anything to do with being a good leader.Look at what we got with Drunk Duffy in the senate!! I would rather RICK MERCER get in.At least he could make us laugh as he was giving us the gears from above.

  • Twiggy
    December 13, 2012 - 12:07

    Of course the biggest, baddest and bluest Tory boys would love a celebrity oriented election. Anything to avoid the issues. And the scams. Every Ghiz scam has a small brigade of Tory cheerleaders behind it, strung out in a chain from Charlottetown to Ottawa. PNP, Plan B, HST. It does not matter if the Premier is a Liberal or a Tory. Vote NDP!!!!!

    • Joe Martell
      December 13, 2012 - 13:59

      I agree. The color of the cats doesn't matter. But what does matter, is that they're all cats, and that they only look after cats. We mice need to smarten up.

  • Pat Binns
    December 13, 2012 - 11:37

    Well i guess if thats the best you P C S can offer than i bet we will see Mr Ghiz in again

  • Checker
    December 13, 2012 - 11:31

    Does this not have the stamp of Lea, Murphy, Keyes and Doyle all over it. Find yourself a well known and respected person to run as leader of the Party and perhaps we will have a good shot at winning the next.election. Might even be a touch of Duffy here too. It does not matter that the person is not really politically motivated or knowledgeable of governance as long as that person will take direction from the so called back room boys because after all they know everything. Sounds much like how Robbie was promoted by the back room Liberals to be the political messiah. We all know how that worked out. Hope Mr. MacLean has enough sense to say no. We need someone who has some sense of how a government should be run from the practical side of things, hopefully with experience in government.

    December 13, 2012 - 10:27

    Just what we need a hockey coach wanting to run our province.

      December 13, 2012 - 11:41

      The first thing he would do is re-write all civil servant and MLA contracts and give them whopping signing bonuses.This would go on for four years and then he would be fired again.Seems loke a good PC plan.

  • nina bryll
    December 13, 2012 - 10:01

    What became of the sensible suggestion that Ray Keenan woule be an excellent choice for leader of the PC party? There is a man with both feet on the ground not besmutted like the rest of those suggested.With Ray Keenan as leader and some down to earth good policies, the Conservatives would win hands down, both in city and country, -- so get on with it, never mind waiting for years, -

  • Son of Angus
    December 13, 2012 - 09:46

    Another parachutist like Duffy! All the sports hacks are probably lining up for jobs. Standard for PEI old boys' club - put a has-been athelete in every every position going, while qualified Islanders stand aside. As for McKenna - find me a positive thing he has every said or written about the PCs or federal Conservatives. Just another left-wing university prof with tenure. Doesn't know the meaning of balance in his biased punditry.

  • Tocky
    December 13, 2012 - 08:50


  • alfredd
    December 13, 2012 - 07:35

    who needs this MacLean Primadona----- what is wrong with the PCs? and Mark Ledwell of Polar Food fame, Jason Lee and Robbie Lanz both riding on the family coat tailes, are on the list as well,---- forget it ----I am going NDPif that is the best they can up with--

  • spud
    December 13, 2012 - 07:25

    Just what PEI would need another premier born with a silver spoon in his mouth and wouldn't have a clue about the real world!!!!

  • Red Flag
    December 13, 2012 - 06:23

    He admits he has never been involved with the party and would have to make a big change in his current living situation – he lives in Florida, commutes to Toronto for work and summers in a CFA for well will this go over? It doesn't in my books.........don't care if he is an Islander by birth or not; he doesn't live here year around........but I guess the back room boys think we Islanders need to be rescued from ourselves.....

  • Rush Limbaugh
    December 13, 2012 - 06:18

    I am a huge Conservative but I will never vote for this guy.

  • Joe Doe
    December 12, 2012 - 23:49

    Hurray,we are going to have Don Cherry as opposition leader.

  • PC supporter
    December 12, 2012 - 21:39

    Finally some good news for our party, MacLean has proven himself a winner in business and the NHL, the fact that he is giving this consideration is very good for our party. As for the current mess, I may not agree with Peter McKenna very often but his description is "bang on", this is not good for the party. I wish the people who are in positions of responsibility within the organization would put the party ahead of their own interests.

    • Nitpicker
      December 13, 2012 - 12:47

      Actually he was not a winner with a 46.8 win %. Making the finals was an accomplishment in his 1st year coaching a a recent expansion team at the time. He does know what it takes to be a voice and a leader would be a more accurate assessment.

  • Blessing
    December 12, 2012 - 21:18

    Make sure you get the blessing of Peter Mckenna as he teaches Political Science and is the expert.Do you remember his predictions before the last election.

  • Joe Blow
    December 12, 2012 - 20:31

    I would rather have an honest person like Olive Crane as the leader of the PC's....I feel she would do the right things and could see where MacLean would end up doing whatever the back room boys tell him to do and would just add to the already more than necessary corruption in PEI politics. Rich people, lawyers, bankers and other snobs don't belong in government. Let the common folks run the province an you'll see the debt finally leave PEI.

  • Hard Nosed
    December 12, 2012 - 20:24

    Doug Maclean would pound Robbie Ghiz if an election was held tomorrow.

    • intobed
      December 13, 2012 - 14:44

      An election is all about winning, but good government is all about how you play the game.

  • i like Mac Lean
    December 12, 2012 - 19:22

    I cannot get into considering voting PC because of the Prime Minister. He may have been a big deterrent to citizens even considering that party imo.. I like Mac Lean as he seems well rounded and fair as far as hockey goes. He happens to be a favorite hockey sportscaster. How that would transfer into politics , who knows? For his sake he should careful and independently review it. He could be stepping into a big headache worse than Kyper. lol Could be worse and he could be considering the Liberals. They might want to research a different type of leader the next time around. What Mr Ghiz has done for the Liberals, Mr Harper does for the Conservatives in my view.

  • how could I lose?
    December 12, 2012 - 19:12

    Says Doug, "Well, I'll tell you what I know about politics. First, I'm going to be very careful to make the right play in the neutral zone. If I'm caught travelling in the wrong direction I'll be susceptible to a breakaway, or be out-numbered. As for being a politician, well, I'm already used to the stop and go, forward to backward movement and quick turns so lying shouldn't be a problem. Besides, since I'll be starting in opposition, I'll first have to infiltrate the middle of the Liberal's and institute a break going the other way. As any politician knows, this is called the hourglass effect and, in time, it'll allow me to control play when I become premier. For now though, I'm good with the wrist so I can pound the table with the best of them and I'll make the media think all the checking and bumping's incidental. That said, you can expect the odd hook, but for the most part I'll shoot low, stay balanced, and keep the sweat spots off my jersey. Bottom line is, there's just no substitute for experience . . . so as long as I don't say anything stupid, how could I lose? Hey, and I'll get those gals off the ice too . . . everyone knows, this is a man's game!"

  • Bumper
    December 12, 2012 - 19:02

    I wonder what experience Mr. MacLean has in governance. Is he truly aware of what good governance entails or is he just another puppet for the Conservative back room boys bent on pursuing their own agenda?

  • intobed
    December 12, 2012 - 18:35

    It might work. Perhaps Don Cherry as leader of the federal Liberal party might work too!

  • johnny cash
    December 12, 2012 - 18:14

    Honestly, why would anyone want to trash a good name by going into politics?