John McCally didn't just lace up the skates. He strapped on the big leather pads. McCally played hockey while growing up in Rochester. He would go on to lose a few pucks in the clear boards of the St. Paul Civic Center during the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament as the Mayo Spartan netminder.
The young man's maturation included a better appreciation for the sacrifices his parents made.
"I had a great hockey mom myself and realized as a parent what my parents went through to make sure my brother and I were the best hockey players possible," McCally says. "They sent us to camps. Took us to tournaments, driving long distances.... I had a wonderful passion for hockey and so did my parents, and both of them sacrificed a great deal so my brother and I could play hockey."
Two years ago, McCally and a partner formed McCally-Lee Entertainment, which produces The Minnesota Traveler, an exploration of the Land of 10,000 Lakes at an energetic storytelling clip.
McCally is the company's idea guy. It executed his top idea with the travel show. Now it's time for the state's hockey matriarchs.
"From a documentary style," he says, "we want to showcase the contemporary hockey scene in Minnesota. Yes, it's very competitive, and yes, there are hockey moms and dads who will give everything so their kids can play hockey, maybe go to juniors and get a college scholarship, and possibly play pro. There are some more extreme than others, but we want to capture it all — the drama, the passion, and all the positive aspects of the hockey spectrum."
The first season will consist of 11 episodes set to air Saturday evenings on KSTC-TV45 in the Twin Cities and MY 9 Sports Network in northern Minnesota. Hockey Moms debuts December 26.
What isn't yet known is who will star. The latest casting call launched last week and runs through September 9.
Those itching for puck stardom should visit the show's website.
McCally foresees the show consisting of "one main hockey mom and one main hockey mom family" as well as "some supporting moms and their families."