By Colin McPhail

(ISN) – Former NHL coach and Canadian Interuniversity Sport alumnus Doug MacLean will be the guest speaker at the 2012 Cavendish University Cup Awards Gala on Wednesday, March 21 at the Playhouse in downtown Fredericton.

MacLean brings a wealth of hockey experience at the amateur and professional levels, including a season as head coach of the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds.

“It feels great to be going back to Fredericton,” said MacLean. “It’s where I started my full-time hockey career and that’s one reason why the UNB hockey program is so special.

“Reaching the University Cup is a tremendous accomplishment and I’m honoured to be part of the CIS Awards Gala.”

Born in Summerside, P.E.I., MacLean stayed on the Island to play for the University of Prince Edward Island while earning his Bachelor of Education. He also played for the Montreal Junior Canadiens.

MacLean made the jump behind the bench with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League as an assistant before taking over as head coach of the Summerside Western Capitals Junior A club. He was called up to the NHL just after a season with the Varsity Reds, joining the St. Louis Blues in 1985 under coach Jacques Martin.

MacLean spent time with the Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings and the AHL’s Baltimore Skipjacks and Adirondack Red Wings before earning his first NHL head coaching job with the Florida Panthers in 1995. He made an immediate impact with the organization, leading the Panthers to a 41-31-10 season and a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Colorado Avalanche. He also earned a nomination for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year.

Columbus was the next stop for MacLean who spent time as head coach, general manager and president of the Blue Jackets, cementing the new expansion team as viable NHL franchise.

Currently, MacLean can be found as notable television and radio personality for Rogers Sportsnet and the Fan 590.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Doug back to UNB,” said athletic director John Richard. “His knowledge and expertise of the game will surely have a lasting impact on all the players and personnel.”