Turns out the Bringer of Rain does what many Canadians do when the fall weather starts to turn chilly.
He waits for the water to freeze.
Former Toronto Blue Jays star Josh Donaldson, who wore that nickname as a key player in the American League club’s playoff fortunes in 2015 and 2016, popped by unexpectedly Oct. 27 to be outfitted with hockey equipment at All Pro Source For Sports in Newmarket.
The time wasn’t without a few laughs as Donaldson stickhandled around the issue of sampling unfamiliar gear.
“He had a couple of his good friends with him and they were gumming him the whole time,” said Darren Ertl, owner of the sporting goods outlet located on Parkside Drive. “If you’ve never put on a jersey over hockey equipment, it’s not easy.”
With masks in place, it took a few minutes for store staff to confirm that the former American League MVP was set to take on a new game. Eventually, manager Dwayne Maisonneuve asked the familiar looking customer point-blank if he was indeed the Josh Donaldson.
“Sure am,” quipped the 35-year-old, who is originally from Pensacola, Florida.
Donaldson, who now plays for the Minnesota Twins, purchased the equipment apparently for an outing with family and friends in the area at a local rink.
“You could tell he is really looking forward to it,” said Ertl. “He was excited. You could see it in his face.”
As word leaked out via social media, curious people started showing up at the store for a glimpse, perhaps a photo and an autograph. Donaldson spent three to four hours at the store kibitzing and enjoying the experience.
“With all the pandemic stuff it’s nice to have someone come into the store and have fun,” said Ertl. “It’s nice to have people joking and laughing, getting autographs and taking pictures.”
Eventually, store employee Joel Morelly invited Donaldson to try on a Maple Leafs jersey over his suit of hockey armour.
“He said he was visiting friends and family in the area,” said Morelly. “At first I didn’t 100 per cent recognize him, thinking ‘Why would Josh Donaldson be coming in here.’ Apparently they had rented some ice in an arena here.
“He was a genuine, nice humble person. It was cool he took the time to talk with everybody.
“He said he’d only been on ice one other time, so there was definitely some teaching going on about elbow pads, shin pads and skates.”
Donaldson socialed the moment on his Instagram page with a tongue-in-cheek comment.
“Thank you to the @MapleLeafs for giving me the opportunity tonight to start in my first NHL game!! I’ll be the first two way player to play in the MLB and NHL. Momma we made it,” Donaldson wrote.
Perhaps he’ll soon be known as the Breaker of Ice.