Remembering Brad McCrimmon
The Flames mourn the loss of former defenceman & assistant coach Brad McCrimmon
|McCrimmon was the Flames captain in the 1989-90 season and won the Stanley Cup with the club in '89.|
The 52 year-old was on board the plane carrying the Kontinental Hockey League club Lokomotiv that crashed on Wednesday. McCrimmon was entering his first season as the team's head coach.
McCrimmon spent three seasons with the Flames, winning a Stanley Cup with the club in 1989, as well as two and a half seasons with the club as an assistant coach.
"These things hit you like a ton of bricks," said McCrimmon's former teammate Jim Peplinski. "You do your best to deal with them and move on. Right now, we're talking with our different teammates and trying to come to grips with the reality that 'The Beast' is no longer on this Earth."
The Flames released this statement on Wednesday morning:
"It’s with heavy hearts that we mourn the tragic loss of another member of the Flames Family today and everyone who lost their lives in this morning’s plane crash in western Russia. Brad was a true representative of the Flames organization. His leadership, hard work, character and love for his family, teammates, his community and the game of hockey were evident in his daily life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Brad and his family and the families of all those who lost their loved ones in this terrible accident."
The Plenty, SK native was known as a prolific scorer while playing in junior. He played for the Brandon Wheat Kings for three seasons, collecting an astounding 279 points during his tenure with the club. In his final year in the WCHL, he managed 24 goals and was just two points shy of hitting the 100 point mark.
The Wheat Kings made the postseason for all three seasons McCrimmon played for them and he was key in their success in the playoffs. He averaged more than a point per game and he was able to help his team make it all the way to the Memorial Cup in the 1978-79 season.
McCrimmon also represented Canada twice at the World Junior Hockey Championships.
Drafted in the first round draft, 15th overall, of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft by Boston, McCrimmon spent three seasons with the Bruins before being dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers for goaltender Pete Peeters. He ended playing with the Flyers for five years where he was able to set career highs at a professional level in both goals (15) and points (56) in the 1985-86 campaign.
He was traded to the Flames after the summer of 1987. In addition to his ability to provide offence from the blueline, he was steadfast in his own zone. He accrued a +109 rating through 231 games played with Calgary. In his first year with the Flames, he posted a +48 rating - a league-high that season.
He was a key player for the club during their run to the Stanley Cup in 1989. He played in every game during the playoffs, earning three assists, and was depended upon to keep the opposition's top players at bay.
An invaluable leader both on and off the ice, McCrimmon was handed the captaincy by the Flames for the 1989-90 season.
"Beast was a quiet individual who, in my opinion, had a very deep and thorough understanding of the game," Peplinski stated. "I took great pride and pleasure and a lot of appreciation in talking to Brad about parts of the game that he saw in a way I certainly didn't and many others didn't."
The Flames traded McCrimmon to the Detroit Red Wings after the 1989-90 season ended. He spent three years with the Red Wings before moving on to the Hartford Whalers for three seasons. He ended his playing career with the Phoenix Coyotes in the 1996-97 season.
In total, he played 1222 regular season games, scored 81 goals, 322 assists and 403 points. McCrimmon played in 116 postseason tilts, managing 11 goals and 29 points. His career plus-minus rating, a +444, is only rivaled by seven players in NHL history.
McCrimmon would join the Flames organization for a second time on August 8, 2000 when he was named an assistant coach with the club. He also spent time as an assistant coach for the New York Islanders (1997-98 through 1998-99), Atlanta Thrashers (2003-04 through 2007-08) and the Detroit Red Wings (2008-09 through 2010-11).
He left the Red Wings organization in May, opting to take a head coaching job with the KHL's Lokomotiv team.