Shreveport provided some of ex-Mudbug MacPherson’s ‘best days’

NORTH RUSTICO, Prince Edward Island – As the dinner crowd files in, owner Forbes MacPherson quickly shovels a napkin into a dustpan at Fisherman’s Wharf Lobster Suppers and Restaurant.

The task may seem remedial to some, perhaps beneath others, but reflects the attention to detail and unselfish commitment to excellence that made “Forbie” a legend nearly 2,300 miles and seemingly a lifetime away.

In his previous life, MacPherson played seven seasons during three different stints (1998-99, 2000-05, 2006-07) with the Mudbugs in Shreveport-Bossier City. He is a former team captain and ranks in the top-five in every major offensive category on the franchise’s all-time lists, including a No. 2 ranking in career assists (273), points (412), postseason assists (38) and postseason points (60).

“When I think about Shreveport, the two things I think about are the (Presidents Cup) championship (1999) and the relationships,” MacPherson said. “We had a core group of players that stayed there for so many years. I hate even mentioning names because I don’t want to leave anyone out.

“If I sat in a room with 10 or 12 of those guys tomorrow, it would be such a great feeling.”

MacPherson, who recently turned 50, just completed his 12th season behind the bench as the head coach for his alma mater, the University of Prince Edward Island. Six years ago, he and his wife, Amy, purchased Fisherman’s Wharf Lobster Suppers. They are raising a son, Owen (16), and daughter, Hayden (14).

“We had some amazing years in Shreveport with a lot of special people,” MacPherson told The Journal.

Scott Muscutt, the original Mudbug, was a teammate to MacPherson during the UPEI product’s rookie season in Shreveport. Muscutt then recruited MacPherson back to town after he became the head coach of the Mudbugs.

“Forbes is the ultimate professional,” Muscutt told The Journal. “He probably understood the game better than anyone we had.

“He was a professional who truly understood being relentless doesn’t mean you were always ‘the guy.’ Being that go-to guy means you understand how to play those 60 regular-season games to win those 16 or 12 or however many games it takes to win a championship.”

Following his Mudbugs’ career, MacPherson served as the assistant coach for the Texas Brahmas under Dan Wildfong before he returned home for the job at UPEI.

“He’s a dynamic person,” Muscutt said. “Breaking into coaching, especially University coaching, in Canada is a slippery, tough slope. For him to have the stability and success he’s had tells you everything.”

The MacPhersons’ restaurant features a 60-foot “salad bar,” but the name doesn’t do it justice. The bar features all-you-can-eat items such as steamed Island Blue Mussels, their famous seafood chowder, rolls and assorted desserts.

“Amy is the engine behind Fisherman’s Wharf,” MacPherson said.

Always a stressful arena, restaurant ownership was made even tougher due to the pandemic, which shut things down for a year and forced heavy restrictions for another year. But from his time on the ice, MacPherson already knew plenty about handling stress.

A cousin to NHL superstar Sidney Crosby, MacPherson registered several memorable moments in teal and purple, including an electrifying overtime goal at the then-CenturyTel Center in Game 4 of the 2004 President Cup Final to give Bossier-Shreveport a 3-1 series lead against Laredo.

“The people of Shreveport, the booster families – they were just a big part of my life.”

“When you look over the course of your life, there are still shots that can capture a decade. Other than the bad back from killing too many of Dan Wildfong’s penalties, I wouldn’t give anything back from my time in Shreveport. He got all the glory and I got the bad back,” MacPherson joked.

Owen wasn’t around to watch his dad excel on the ice, and his humble father isn’t one to brag. However, somehow, Owen recently realized he’s got a lot to live up to with the MacPherson name.

A couple of weeks ago, he said, “Holy freak, Dad, did you play for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ farm club (St. John’s of the AHL) for a while?”

A typical, taciturn Forbes MacPherson response followed: “Yes, I did.”

There are a handful of names and numbers hanging from the rafters of George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. If the Mudbugs decide to make an addition, MacPherson and his No. 15 are an obvious choice for consideration.

“He’s been on the short list for quite a while,” Muscutt said. “Most people don’t know how much he brought to the Mudbugs. A lot of great players we had come through here to help us win championships were players Forbes MacPherson helped bring to town. His pipeline was really strong.”

MacPherson would be honored to join the elite names and numbers near the roof, but it won’t change how he views Shreveport.

“That’s for other people to decide, but all I can say is my time in Shreveport was some of the best days of my life,” MacPherson said. “We lived life to the fullest. We played so hard and had so much fun. It was such a great decision to go there and keep going back. It was nothing but the best.”

Forbie file

Stat: All-time Mudbugs rank

Regular-season games played, career (413): 5th

Regular-season goals, career (139): 4th

Regular-season assists, career (273): 2nd

Regular-season points, career (412): 2nd

Regular-season plus-minus, career (plus-109): 4th

Postseason games, career (72): 4th

Postseason goals, career (22): 5th

Postseason assists, career (38): 2nd

Postseason points, career (60): 2nd

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com