BORN IN 1958 IN SASKATOON CANADA, he was a Junior-B defenseman who arrived in Australia in 1983, and became chauffeur to the Canadian High Commissioner in Canberra. He joined the Canberra Knights in the ACT-NSW Super League, and was soon team Captain. One of the Knights' line-up that year for the televised Slapshot 83 series, he returned with the Club for the 1984 series. Russ Johnson, Dean Pollock, playing coaches Darry Stevens and Chuck Naish, David Bernhardsen, Jim Fuyarchuk and Brett Heinrich were all teammates the Knights imported from overseas in those years.
When his Club won the Super League premiership in 1987, they crept up from behind to snatch victory in sudden death overtime. The Macquarie Bears were 5 goals up when he slapped the puck through several players for the game-changer. He opened the third with his second goal from long-range and suddenly the Knights were within 3 goals of their opponents. McLean assisted Owen Kenyon's goal and then Dean Pollock's equaliser after Chuck Naish had scored. The overtime winner was left to Russ Johnson, but he had a hand in 4 of the 5 comeback goals.
Within 2 years, he was an Australian citizen, making his national début at the inaugural D-Pool World Championships in Perth in 1987, after 4 or 5 years residency. The Best Player in the 1988 Goodall Cup with ACT goalie Geoff Hoeschle, both made the All Star team with Charles Naish, an All-Canberra defense. One of six players from the ACT on the national team that year, he could look back on one World Cup, an international tournament, plus two league championships and two Goodall Cup finals with the Knights.
All up, he represented Australia at the 1987 Worlds, both the 1988 Thayer Tutt Trophy in the Netherlands and the 1988 President's Bicentennial Ice Hockey Championship in Canberra, and the C-Pool Worlds hosted in Sydney in 1989. He was another player of the era who said the key to Australian success in international hockey was to develop its own younger players instead of importing. "Many of the imports tended to be in their mid- to late 20s with possibly few years left in the game," he said in 1987. "It is a better investment to develop the 18 and 19 year-olds".
The next year, when he turned thirty, almost half the national squad for the 1988 Thayer Tutt, an alternative Olympic competition, was under 20 years of age, including 18 year-old Charlie Cooper who was playing for the University of British Columbia at the time. Under his tutelage, and others with overseas experience such as Jim Fuyarchuk, the ACT produced a memorable procession of juniors from the early-1990s, who held their own in the top league of the time, and became Minor Premiers. Some of them were among the ACT's very first Goodall Cup champions in 1998.
1. The ACT's Al McLean was Goodall Cup MVP in 1992 and a Goodall Cup Champion for the ACT in 1998.
Ross Carpenter, 'McLean, Rick (1958 - )', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia, http://icelegendsaustralia.com/legends-2/bio_mclean.html, accessed online .