With a grandfather in the Hockey Hall of Fame and a cousin who was one of the most talented — and sometimes most notorious — goalies in NHL history, Leah Hextall has hockey in her bloodlines.
So it’s little surprise the Brandon-born broadcaster has carved herself a nice career in the sports reporting world. Hextall, who started at CKX in the Wheat City before moving to CTV in Winnipeg, has taken her career to Boston as an anchor with sports network NESN, a chance to work in one of the great cities — and great sports cities — in North America.
Hextall, whose cousin Ron was a goalie with the Philadelphia Flyers, grandpa Bryan a Hall of Famer with the New York Rangers and uncle Dennis also a former NHLer, agreed to be the latest notable Manitoban to take part in our 20 Questions feature and answered questions via e-mail while on a train from Beantown to New York City recently.
Her answers are entertaining and she managed to type two words that have NEVER been uttered in Boston sports history: Trade Bird.
You’ll just have to read on to see how she pulls that one off.
1. Other than family, where is a "must-go" place for you when you visit Brandon?
The Man Room on McDonald Avenue. I’ll always find Flyers fans, a bevie of the adult variety and tons of fun.
2. You worked at CKX-TV in Brandon. Who was your favourite person to interview?
Kelly McCrimmon. He won’t remember but he was the first interview of my career. Our relationship grew from him smiling to throwing a stick to opening up about the passing of his brother Brad. He’s a beauty.
3. Who’s the most famous person in your cell phone?
I can’t tell you that …
4. What is a TV show you watch regularly you’d consider a guilty pleasure?
The Housewives. Shut up.
5. What app on your phone are you most addicted to?
6. What was your first "wow" moment in Boston?
Standing on the field at Fenway. I remember thinking "from Brandon to Boston."
7. What sporting venue have you not seen that you’re dying to go to?
Colosseum in Rome.
8. The funniest show in TV history is?
9. What’s your go-to snack?
Chips, chips and more chips. Salt and vinegar are my fave, but now that I’m in the U.S., I find myself craving ketchup.
10. Most notable thing you’ve learned about Boston that you didn’t know before?
Historic and so much culture. I moved here knowing it may be the best sports market in North America, but Boston really has it all.
11. Cliff Claven, Norm Peterson or Sam Malone: Who would you rather have a beer with?
Sam. Ex-athlete, pours a mean beer, charming and good looking. Chance for it all.
12. Who would play you in a movie of your life?
Seriously. Ugh. Jennifer Lawrence. Yes, I’m swinging above my average in the looks, but she doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously.
13. What’s something you always need in your purse?
14. Your biggest driving pet peeve is?
Used to be people who honk, but I do it all the time now.
15. What is a concert you’ve been to that you can brag "I was there?"
Just happened. Jay-Z and JT (Justin Timberlake) at Fenway this summer. It was a non-stop musical orgasm.
16. They hologrammed Tupac at Coachella in 2012. What deceased singer or band would you hologram?
I always wanted to see Michael Jackson.
17. Who’s the best Muppet?
18. Would you rather have your dream car or dream vacation?
19. If you weren’t working in sports, you’d be:
I would be a rock star.
20. Bobby Orr rookie card. Larry Bird bobblehead. Tom Brady jersey. Keep one, trade one, sell one.
Keep Orr. Trade Bird. Sell Brady.