The second half of our trip started with the best pancake breakfast I have ever had in my entire life. Treated by the Britton’s to Finnish Pancakes at the world famous and underground, locals own Hoito Restaurant, We were ready for our best and most inspiring day yet.

- Last night the Mackinnon Boys had the pleasure of meeting Hugh Macintyre (Sorry Hugh I spell all MAC names M-A-C as my apparently Scottish father tells me this is the only way to go). It was tremendously special for us to meet Hugh. An 87 year old grandfather who is fit as can be, and looks younger than myself, Hugh is a Thunder Bay local, who 20 years ago rode exactly the same route we have to his home town. Reminiscing with Hugh, was fantastic, we spoke about the pass out of Osoyoos, the traffic and the distinctly fast prairies. (For Hugh who did 300 KM in one day, apparently we are not as quick as we thought) Hugh did the trip at 65 and mentioned that he was not sore at all to a bunch of young guys like ourselves, who have been in fits of pain definitely put us in our place. Hugh, we were humbled in your presence.

-  It was pretty cool to meet Hugh the night before I finally got to fulfill a dream of mine. Terry Fox has been a hero of all of ours for a long time and finally being able to see his monument in Thunder Bay was a dream come true. The marathon of Hope that Terry Fox started in 1980 has inspired so many people within Canada and Internationally. To have that kind of insight at 22 years old, I admire Terry so much for his heart, determination and fearlessness in achieving something no one ever thought possible. He is a huge hero of ours! If you ever get the chance you need to watch Steve Nash’s (Our other Canadian hero) documentary “Into the Wind”, as it is a special and magical documentary.

- It has been very interesting to spend time in Northern Ontario, as being here has been my first taste of Canadian cultural and slang differences. One thing I have noticed in Northern Ontario is everyone here measures distances in time. For example if you ask how far it is to a place? They will never answer you in kilometers they will always answer you in how many hours it will take you to get to your destination. I am not sure if this is because of the size of Northern Ontario or if they just like messing with four brothers with 80 pounds of equipment attached to their vintage bikes.

- A camp to a Northern Ontarian is to a Southern Ontario what a cottage is, and is what a cabin is to a British Columbian. Make sense.

While father Art Britton was telling us where the camps that Thunder Bay’s own, some of Canada’s finest the Staal Brothers own are. The Mackinnon Boys were completely confused trying to figure out why all of the Staal Brothers would have competing Hockey Sports CAMPS against each other. Our family has run a basketball camp in the Comox Valley for the last 6 years so being interested in this I began to think who would have the more successful basketball camp Ryan or myself, if we split up. Thinking about it for a while I assume that kids would rather come to mine, as they would enjoy learning more than just shooting a three or doing a left hand lay up. ZING RY!

Speaking of the Staal Brothers, I have decided to use this once in a lifetime opportunity to compare my four brothers to Thunder Bay’s own, the four current and NHL headed Stalls.

The Elders: (Eric and Scotty): Eric the highly touted 2nd overall selection to the Carolina Hurricanes has led in many fashions winning a Stanley Cup, Olympic Gold Medal and becoming a proven NHL all star. Similar to Scotty Mac in the fact that he is a champion, Eric leads by example and is willing to do anything to win just like S-MAC. (Evident in his yellow jersey province victories over Ryan). Eric has adopted into a solid veteran who knows his strengths and still excels at a high level, just like the grey-haired “Comox Killa, Lethbridge Thrilla” who won the intramural “A” division at the University of Lethbridge with the Dragons circa 2005.

The Odd man out: Marc and Sean Neville both have decided to find their own paths and not follow the footsteps of their brothers. The only defenseman in the bunch, Marc a gritty, stay at home defenseman does his job and brings home the bacon just like the foreman and big boss himself Mr. Sean Neville. Both liking the limelight and the big city have relocated to New York and Vancouver respectfully putting their time in with celebrities and the big time. They both went out on their own and have been very successful because of this.

The talents: (Brother Rusty and Jordan Staal): The masters of being good at everything. Both have a talent for being multi talented. Jordan can score, penalty kill, block a shot, finish a check and make the game winning play. Give Russ a ball and he is good with it! The kid is the intramural king! Both are quite intelligent as they surround themselves with extremely talented players. In Jordan’s case with Malkin and Crosby and in Russ with his association with myself and SMA-BRAP!   

The Young Bucks (Ry Mac and Jared): About to make their big break, both boys are sitting on the brink of excellence. Ry Mack waiting to go play professionally in Europe and Jared waiting for the shot that he deserves. If I was an NHL team I would be jumping all over this guy, does genetics not mean anything these days! The same goes for Ryan in terms of going to Europe as he had one of the greatest mentors and teachers in myself who taught him every old man up and under he ever needed to know!

(Footnote: By no means should the Mackinnon Brothers ever be compared to the Staals as the most impressive athletic accomplishment we have ever attempted excluding Ryan is this trip and I believe that is stupidity and ignorance more than athletic prowess. We did however play in the Highland Secondary Alumni basketball game where we beat the current 16 and 17 years olds due to Russ bowing out at half time and deciding he was going to coach, Scotty Mac beating up on kids a decade younger than him, Sean Neville hitting no look circus style alley oops and us collectively not passing the ball to our all Canadian brother Ryan as we did not want him to show us up. He took 1 shot in the second half)

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     Mackinnon Brothers

    With this blog The Mackinnon Boys hope to keep sponsors, friends, family and anyone interested updated on our travels, experiences and thoughts. All four boys will be making entries as well as our father Mr. Hugh Mackinnon who will be accompanying us for parts of the trip in his 1967 VW van.


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