Jock Callander's Impact on Ohio Hockey Through the YearsJan 3, 2020
When Jock Callander first came to Northeast Ohio in 1993 to play for the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League, the now-retired forward had no clue the city would still be his home 27 years later.
Following an historic playing career, the Regina, Saskatchewan, native is one of three Cleveland hockey players to have his number retired, along with legendary Cleveland Barons players Johnny Bower and Fred Glover. Callander spent seven seasons with the Lumberjacks and holds several franchise records, including career goals (181), assists (279) and points (460) along with many IHL records, including the league’s all-time scoring record.
Following his Lumberjacks career, Callander moved on to coach with the American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros in 2001-02 before returning to Ohio where his young family and three children were situated.
Now serving as the Vice President of Hockey Affairs/Team Services for the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters, Callander has been an integral part of the Monsters’ organization since the very beginning, serving in several compacities including three seasons as an assistant coach.
As a part of his duties with the Monsters, Callander helps year-round with several of the team’s Grow the Game initiatives, including summer street hockey and on-ice clinics and Try Hockey for Free days during the season.
“I think with hockey in Northeast Ohio, we see a battle with other sports for athletes,” explained Callander. “Participation in football dominates in the state, so many of Ohio’s elite athletes focus on that sport from a young age. Our organization focuses on introducing hockey to as wide an audience as possible in the Cleveland area in order to help youth hockey participation numbers continue to grow.”
Whether it’s teaching the fundamentals to kids stepping onto the ice for the first time or just discovering hockey by playing outside on the blacktop, Callander, a Stanley Cup Champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992, knows the importance of growing the game in a region that was so important to his decorated playing career.
“If we get more kids in this area playing hockey at an earlier age, the better the quality of future local players will be,” said Callander. “Staging these types of ‘Grow the Game’ events will help them stick with the game and continue to put Ohio on the map in the hockey world.”
In addition to his broadcasting duties as the Monsters’ color commentator on SportsTime Ohio, Callander will be one of three Lumberjacks alumni in town this weekend as the Monsters celebrate Lumberjacks Weekend with a pair of home games versus the Milwaukee Admirals at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Alongside fellow former Lumberjacks Jeff Christian and Jeff Rucinski, Callander will participate in an autograph session on Friday night from 6:00-6:45pm in the FieldHouse’s atrium before the three former players take part in a VIP on-ice pregame ceremonial puck drop.
Fans of Callander can bid on items from his own personal collection of awards and a signed Lumberjacks jersey at the games this weekend by visiting the Community Corner presented by Cargill outside Portal 6 on the concourse.