Hockey Legends

of Grande Prairie

From Ponds to the Pros


Life After Hockey
Darren and his mother Marj bear the distinction of being the first and only GP Hockey Legends to come from the same family. Marj was inducted as a GP Hockey Legend in 2007. When interviewed about being selected as a Legend, she was quick to deflect attention from herself and shower praise on others. “The Legends Induction is something that more people should experience. More people need to be recognized for things they do. It’s about people who are behind minor hockey. They’re fantastic and do an incredible amount of work. I was just glad to be a part of it. Now I get to watch it all over again with my grandsons and I can’t wait.”

Little did she know that five years after her induction she would witness her son’s induction into this select body. Following in his mother’s tradition Darren readily acknowledges the support of others such as coaches and fellow players. However, the first and foremost contributors to Darren’s success as an elite hockey player are family members: his mother, father, grandfather, several uncles and his brother, each of them with their own stories to tell about their relationship to Darren: stories that bear witness to the power of family ties.

Proud Parents


Beyond his family is the community of Grovedale that nurtured Darren’s development. Unlimited ice time that was made available was certainly a major factor in Darren’s superior performance in hockey. He leaves no doubt that he will always be proud of his childhood roots. When asked about his relationship to Grovedale, Darren replied, “You can take the kid out of Grovedale but you can’t take Grovedale out of the kid.” For a number of years after leaving home to play junior and professional hockey, he returned when his season was over to visit with family and friends and play hockey whenever possible. Darren and Rocky never played organized hockey on the same team when they were growing up. ”My biggest memory,” said Rocky “was when Darren came home and we played hockey together. We did that for three years.” For a number of years Darren participated in a hockey charity tournament that Rocky organizes every year with proceeds going to minor hockey and families or individuals in financial distress. “We call it the Grovedale Old Star Program and have raised well over $50,000.00 in the past eight years.”

Another of Darren’s contributions to young hockey hopefuls was the role he played in organizing and conducting hockey schools in Grande Prairie while playing junior hockey in Seattle. In Darren’s youth he had enrolled in summer hockey programs conducted by GP Hockey Legends Ken Solheim (inducted 2006) and Doug Rigler (inducted 2008). Later Darren took his turn to coach at home. Darren first worked for the Grande Prairie Figure Skating Club and then along with Brad Zavisha, Shane Sieker he founded the North Peace Hockey School which they operated for a number of years. Another connection to Grande Prairie is that he found time, while he was playing hockey in the WHL, to return home and in 1990 he graduated from the Grande Prairie Composite High School along with his friends. Darren is a proud GP Comp Alumnus.

Childhood Friends


Darren, his wife, Betsy and their two boys, ages four and seven, now make their home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama – not exactly hockey country. The nearest rink is in Birmingham – a forty- minute drive. That’s a bit different from putting skates on in one’s kitchen and shuffling to a dugout across the street. Darren reports that he gets on the ice once or twice per year along with his boys. However, he is not sure they understand what he accomplished in hockey. One of the goals of the GP Hockey Legends project is to stir the hockey memory pot and keep our hockey history alive. “Darren’s contribution to the game of hockey includes strong local roots as well as an impressive professional hockey career. He left an indelible mark in Grande Prairie from the minor hockey ranks including his contribution as a junior with the North Stars where he joined the elite fifty goals in fifty games club,” remarks Stan Neufeld, GP Hockey Legends Chairman.

Brothers and Sons


Darren’s career totals as a professional in six different leagues include 873 games played, 171 goals, and 298 assists for 469 points.” More important than his statistics is the manner in which he conducted himself. On the ice he was known as unselfish: a player who made his teammates look better. Off the ice he was quiet, modest and popular among his peers. In the words of coach Trotz, “He was and is, quite simply, the ultimate team player. He was a winner on the ice and he is a winner off the ice because of his character, integrity and professionalism.”

The Grande Prairie Hockey Legends Program is proud to honour Darren McAusland as one of its Hockey Legends.

Grande Prairie Hockey Legends is researched, written and presented by Stan and Ron Neufeld