BOISE-- Boise isn't known as a hockey town, but try telling that to 2-time Stanley Cup champion John MacMillan. The Former Toronto Maple Leaf has called Boise his home for over three decades, and even at the age of 76, he isn't slowing down on or off the ice.
MacMillan spends two nights a week playing hockey with the St Michael's hockey club. His presence on the ice is both appreciated and respected.
"The guy has two Stanley Cup rings," St. Michael's teammate Mark Broz said. "What an inspiration. He's got so much enthusiasm, he's like playing with a twenty year old."
"He's a competitor. We all kind of model ourselves after his attitude," St. Michael's teammate Rick Bourbonnais said.
MacMillan has been flying up and down the ice for most of his 76 years. He grew up with a hockey stick in his hand in Milk River, Alberta, and could fire a wrist shot before he could even ride a bike.
He was also one of the first U.S. college hockey players to be drafted into the NHL in 1960 when he left the University of Denver for the Toronto Mapleleafs. Two seasons later he earned a ring as a member of the Stanley Cup champions. The Maple Leafs then repeated as champions the very next year.
"In '61-'62 we won it, and then in '62-63 we won it," MacMillan remembers. "So they called the rings back. They took everybody's ring back, they put another year on the side of the ring, and enlarged the diamond and gave it back to us."
Last month, the Maple Leafs held a 50-year anniversary celebration for the 1962 team that started off a string of four Stanley Cup championships in that decade. The moment was captured on national TV all across Canada. MacMillan was the first to be called onto the ice.
"To step out on the ice like that, and be first, it was everything you could imagine it would be."
After winning two rings with the Maple Leafs, MacMillan went to the Detroit Red Wings in 1963 and eventually retired from pro hockey with the San Diego Gulls in 1971. With his playing career over, he moved to Boise and started up a Computer World franchise. But he never stopped playing hockey, and has been found ever since at adult league games, open skates, and pick up games across the Treasure Valley. Defensemen had trouble stopping him when he was an elite athlete, and now players half his age still are, 50 years later.
"I think they let me have that, that's the way I feel," MacMillan jokes. "I just enjoy making a pass, I enjoy being a part of whatever it is that's going on."