By Marcie Garcia
In the rural country town of Pictou, Nova Scotia — population 5,000 strong — Joey MacDonald is a hometown hero. The former Toledo Storm and new Boston Bruin goaltender, who was claimed off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings Feb. 24, is hoping to race to popularity in Boston.
MacDonald will leave his former team in the dust, thanks to his interest in auto racing, specifically the MASCAR Racing Circuit that runs in MacDonald’s backyard.
The 27-year-old began his professional career in the ECHL in 2001-02 and was 12-15-7 with a shutout, a goals-against average of 2.88 and a save percentage of .922 in 38 games with the Storm. He returned to Toledo on a rehabilitation assignment last season and in his only appearance made 25 saves in a 4-1 win against Trenton on Nov. 12, 2005.
MacDonald is the nephew of Rollie MacDonald, a retired Nova Scotia stock car racer who had a long and successful racing career in the MASCAR Racing Circuit that extends from New Brunswick International Speedway in Geary, to Ontario, and Maine, boasts about his uncle’s glory days.
“He’s been racing since his teens and now is around 62, 63-years-old,” MacDonald said. “He won it all last year, in his last year. I went to see a few races and that gets you really involved when you actually know somebody. It’s pretty exciting.”
Though MASCAR isn’t nearly as robust as NASCAR, the largest motorsport association in America, which includes the NEXTEL Cup, Busch Series, and Craftsman Truck Series, MASCAR has a good following and sees upwards of 5,000 fans in the stands.
“Where I live, there are around eight or nine tracks and then they go all over,” MacDonald says. “There’s usually one race a week and you probably get 5-6 thousand people, which is pretty good for Nova Scotia.”
MacDonald often is one of the spectator when he is back home during the summer, when he isn’t working his parents’ cattle farm with brothers Kenny, 31, and Richie, 23, or watching NASCAR on lazy Sunday afternoons.