I first met Rod McLachlan at his home on the eastern edge of Milton. What’s most apparent is the prevalent family-centric setting; the front doorknob is childproofed, in the living room are play mats and toys tucked neatly away but immediately accessible.
Across from me, McLachlan is seated beneath framed portraits of the night sky, each depicting the stars over Milton the nights each of their children—Ryan and Raelyn—were born.
“My wife is way better at gift giving then me,” McLachlan explains with a chuckle. On the small corner table next to him stands two printed audio wavelengths from home videos of their kids. Being in television as an associate producer, the gift means so much more to him.
McLachlan grew up in Cambridge on the Hespeler side. He remembers the rivalries between the three amalgamated communities of Galt, Preston and Hespeler. “My first job was to deliver the Cambridge Reporter,” says McLachlan. He would read them as he worked his route. “That’s how I got into the news.”
Majoring in journalism at Western University, Rod met his wife, Rhonda. While neither were native Miltonians, they made the move to Milton, and McLachlan didn’t feel like being much of a stranger in his new town. “I see a lot of people in a similar point in their life,” he says. There are lots of young families in and around his neighbourhood. “Milton is so community-oriented…It’s diverse but there’s almost something of a shared experience.” McLachlan talks about seeing many of the same faces at local events and clubs.
He joined the Milton Rotary Club, in 2010. He became president during 2014 and 2015. The gavel he wielded as president hangs on the living room wall as another memento. McLachlan has worked on the Milton Sports Hall of Fame for a little over a year. “It’s where my passion and profession mix,” he says. Since then he has scaled back his involvement, focusing more on his home life.
“My son is a connoisseur of parks,” he jokes. “We drive around Milton looking for new parks.” McLachlan always has to pull over when Ryan sees a new playground to try out. Springridge Farms is a particularly favourite spot for the McLachlan clan.
Besides raising their kids, Rod and Rhonda McLachlan have opened a home business in the basement. Well Kneaded is a massage therapy clinic, Rhonda McLachlan has worked as a registered massage therapist for years before heading out on her own with Well Kneaded.
“I’m biased, but I think she’s really good,” McLachlan says about his wife. They didn’t know how much work it would be setting up the venture. McLachlan explains that they worked very closely with the town. They had to learn as they put it all together–from learning to draw rudimentary blueprints, to setting up a website, and installing a privacy screen in the living room.
Rod McLachlan’s work as an associate producer for Hometown Hockey began when Rogers bought the NHL Canadian TV rights and both the CBC and Rogers agreed to work together. As an associate producer, Rod has been all over the country covering games, communities and players. He’s responsible for covering a broad range of tasks from interviewing players, creating historical player profiles, writing scripts, choosing the music and carrying the product through editing and delivering it to the public. He travels on-site, working with camera crews to capture scenery, important local events, shooting features and hits for Hockey Night in Canada and he is even occasionally responsible for livening up the crowds. During the off-season and the pre-season, McLachlan and his team are busy researching the towns they’ll be covering. “I really enjoy working on Hometown Hockey,” says McLachlan. “We’ll see if the show is renewed again for another season next year.”
His experience runs the gamut of small-time games to the big leagues and Olympic coverage. Since the CBC and Rogers have agreed to continue their working relationship until 2026, Rod will be working on hockey for the next eight years at least. With the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games taking place next month, McLachlan is looking forward to working on the games again.
As technology in his field advances, he has been able to stay in the Toronto studio more in order to be at home, but he certainly doesn’t mind the occasional out-of-town experience. During his time on the road, McLachlan has met many people and experienced many communities, but he says that Milton has become more to him as the years go by.