Dan MacLelland is the sixth bowler to be inducted by the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame. MacLelland competed on the Professional Bowling Association (PBA) circuit from 2009-2015.
The local bowler participated in 72 events over that span, eight times appearing in the championship round. This included the PBA World Championship in 2012. His childhood attachment to the sport was helped by his adoration of PBA’s legendary bad boy, Pete Weber, whom MacLelland defeated in 2014 at the Barbasol Tournament of Champions.
“Pete Weber was my idol growing up, not knowing I threw it like him until I was 14-years-old. I just love the way he could shape a bowling ball and the confidence that he exuded when he bowled,” MacLelland confessed.
MacLelland attributes his confidence and his ability to forget bad shots as keys to his success, but he wasn’t sure how successful he would even be at bowling until he made Team Southern Ontario as a 16-year old. After that tournament, his career as a bowler took off.
Hailing from Windsor and earning some impressive accolades as the World Bowling Association (WBA) World Youth Doubles Champion in 2006, MacLelland went to college in Michigan at Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU), graduating in 2010. He received more than a degree in sociology from SVSU, however, as he was named collegiate bowler of the year in 2007-08 and
2008-09. Beyond the individual success at SVSU, MacLelland spearheaded the SVSU Cardinals
to two Intercollegiate Team Championship (ITC) titles.
“Saginaw was a big part in shaping my career. The people I met – some have become lifelong friends,” he said. “It also gave me four years of very competitive bowling and helped prepare me for the PBA.”
MacLelland has a string of national glories too, winning the Canadian national crown in 2011, winning the Master’s title in 2011 at the PABCON (Pan American) Championship, and winning bronze at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto in singles and gold in doubles with teammate Francois Lavoie.
MacLelland’s many achievements on the lanes were not by accident but through a lot of hard work and family connections. He started bowling at the age of four. His father worked in the bowling industry, and as such, MacLelland bowled for free after school for 40 weeks a year.
“My father, Leonard, was the main influence,” MacLelland said. “He was the one that got us started Sunday mornings in a league. Also, he’s the one that brought us to the alleys after school everyday and my brother and I would practice until Mom picked us up at 5 p.m.”
Bowling continues to be in his blood, even though he has not bowled on tour since 2015. He finds time on the weekend to knock down some pins but finds life is most fun when he is spending time with his wife and two girls. Welcome to the Hall, Dan.