MacGyver's birthdate is given as January 23, 1951 and he was raised in Mission City, Minnesota. MacGyver was in the Cub Scouts, and a Den Mother by the name of Mrs. Forgery taught him "backwoods common sense" and the motto "Be prepared. " At the age of 7, his grandmother Celia Jackson and father James MacGyver (Martin Milner) were killed in a car accident in which they both drowned, and MacGyver grew up with his mother, Ellen MacGyver. His grandfather, Harry Jackson (John Anderson) acted as his father, but moved away when MacGyver was sixteen, working for a time in Alaska while sending money to MacGyver and his mother, and eventually settled down as a farmer in Minnesota. At about 12 years of age, MacGyver had a traumatic experience with the accidental shooting death of a friend by a bullet from a falling gun. MacGyver is a lifelong player of ice hockey, having played in his local hockey leagues and coached for a minor league team; he is also a supporter of the Calgary Flames and believed he could have made the NHL. He met Jack Dalton while in high school.