Brad McCrimmon
Brad McCrimmon.jpg
Born March 29, 1959(1959-03-29)
Dosland, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died September 7, 2011(2011-09-07) (aged 52)
Yaroslavl, Russia
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 193 lb (88 kg; 13 st 11 lb)
Position Defence
Shoots Left
Played for Boston Bruins
Philadelphia Flyers
Calgary Flames
Detroit Red Wings
Hartford Whalers
Phoenix Coyotes
National team Flag of Canada.svg Canada
NHL Draft 15th overall, 1979
Boston Bruins
Playing career 1979–1997

Brad McCrimmon (born Byron Brad McCrimmon on March 29, 1959) was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman and coach.

He played over 1,200 games in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Calgary Flames, Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers and Phoenix Coyotes between 1979 and 1997.

Brad achieved his greatest success in Calgary where he was named a second team All-Star in 1987–88, played in the 1988 NHL All-Star Game and won the Plus-Minus Award with a league leading total of +48. In 1989, he helped the Flames win their first Stanley Cup championship. His career plus-minus of +444 is one of the highest totals in NHL history.

He turned to coaching following his playing career, serving as an assistant with the New York Islanders before taking over as head coach of the Western Hockey League's Saskatoon Blades for two seasons between 1998 and 2000.

He then returned to the NHL as an assistant, first with the Flames then the Atlanta Thrashers and finally the Red Wings.

Brad left the NHL to become the head coach of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in 2011, but never coached a regular season game as he was killed in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl air disaster along with most of the team after their plane crashed en route to their first game.

Playing CareerEdit


Brad began his junior career at the age of 15 with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL).

He played two seasons with the team, scoring 23 goals and 84 points. In his second season, 1975–76, Brad was named the SJHL's defenceman of the year. For the 1976–77 season, he moved up to the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL).

Brad scored 84 points in 72 games in his first WCHL season and added 13 points in 15 playoff games as the Wheat Kings reached the league championship series, only to lose to the New Westminster Bruins. He scored 97 points in 1977–78 and 98 in 1978–79.

Brad was named the defenceman of the year in 1978 and was named to the league all-star team in both seasons. He also joined the Canadian junior team at the World Junior Championship in each season.

He recorded two assists in six games to help Canada win a bronze medal at the 1978 tournament and had three points in five games in 1979 though Canada failed to medal.

With McCrimmon as team captain, the Wheat Kings again reached the league championship in 1978–79. He scored 28 points in 22 games to help Brandon win the President's Cup.

The team advanced to the 1979 Memorial Cup tournament where it reached the final against the Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough Petes. Brad routinely played a high number of minutes each game; his teammates marvelled at his stamina.

In the Memorial Cup final, he played virtually every minute of the contest. His total ice time was 60 minutes, 38 seconds, and he was off the ice only to serve a two-minute penalty.

Peterborough won the game 2–1 in overtime after Brad lost the puck on a play he thought was icing was not called. Peterborough's Terry Bovair stole the puck from him and scored the championship winning goal. Despite the loss, Brad was named a tournament all-star on defence.


At the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, Brad was considered one of the deepest in league history. He was selected 15th overall by the Boston Bruins & made his NHL debut on October 11, 1979, in the team's opening night victory over the Winnipeg Jets.

He scored 5 goals and 16 points in his rookie season in the 1979–80 season and improved to 11 goals and 29 points in his second season.

With only nine points in the 1981–82 season, Brad had gained a reputation as a player who did not attack with the puck in the NHL. Following the retirement of Rogie Vachon, the Bruins needed a new goaltender. They sent him to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Pete Peeters on June 9, 1982.

Philadelphia Flyers' coach Bob McCammon argued that Brad had been "intimidated" by playing with fellow 1979 Bruins pick and all-star, Ray Bourque and that he could be a better overall defenceman.

Brad's offence improved in his first two seasons in Philadelphia; 25 points in the 1982–83 season and 24 though without a goal scored in the 1983–84 season), but he established himself as a top shutdown defenceman with the Flyers. He recorded 43 points in 1984–85 and posted a plus-minus rating of +52, fifth best in the NHL.

Brad was ruled out of the 1985 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the third game of the league semi-final against the Quebec Nordiques when he suffered a third-degree separation of his left shoulder following a hard hit by Wilf Paiement, an injury that required surgery to repair.

The Flyers reached the final without him, but were defeated by the Edmonton Oilers for the Stanley Cup.

Brad returned to start the 1985–86 season, in which he had his best season statistically. He appeared in all 80 games for the Flyers and set career highs of 13 goals, 43 assists, 56 points and his plus-minus rating of +83 was second only to defensive partner Mark Howe. He was named recipient of the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers' top defenceman.

Brad and the Flyers became embroiled in a contract dispute prior to the 1986–87 season. The two sides were unable to agree on a contract the season before, and an arbitrator was required to resolve the impasse.

The arbitrator sided with the team, setting a contract at the Flyers' offer of US$165,000 for that season (he asked for $200,000) with an option to extend the deal for 1986–87. The Flyers exercised that option, and though he admitted he was under contract for the season, Brad refused to play unless a new deal was reached.

When the two sides were unable to come to an agreement, Brad went home to Saskatchewan as the season began. The Flyers suspended him on September 26, 1986 after he refused to appear in the first exhibition games.

The impasse was not resolved until a month later when Brad and the team agreed to a one-year contract on October 29, 1986. He immediately returned to the team and appeared in 72 of the Flyers' 80 games, recording 22 points and finishing fourth in the league at +45.

In the 1987 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brad appeared in all 26 post-season games as the Flyers again reached the final against Edmonton. He scored the overtime winner in game 3 of the final, but the Oilers won the series.

Following the season, general manager Bobby Clarke refused to sign a new deal with Brad, choosing instead to trade him. He was sent to the Calgary Flames on August 27, 1987, in exchange for a third round selection at the 1988 NHL Entry Draft and a first rounder at the 1989 NHL Entry Draft.

In the 1987-88 season, Brad joined Al MacInnis, Paul Reinhart, Gary Suter and Ric Nattress to form one of the top defences in the NHL. He scored 42 points for the Flames, won the NHL Plus-Minus Award with a league-leading +48 and was named a second team All-Star. Additionally, he played in the 1988 All-Star Game.

Brad recorded only 22 points in 1988–89 (which was his lowest in seven seasons), but led all NHL defencemen with a +43 rating. He appeared in all 22 playoff games for the Flames as the team defeated the Montreal Canadiens to win the first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history.

He was named the 10th captain in Flames history on November 3, 1989, succeeding Lanny McDonald and Jim Peplinski, who both retired following the Stanley Cup win.

Brad scored 4 goals and 19 points during the 1989–90 season, but fell out of favour with head coach Terry Crisp as the two disagreed over how the team's defencemen were used.

The Flames chose to trade him following the season, sending him to the Detroit Red Wings on June 15, 1990, in exchange for a second round draft pick.

In the 1991–92 season, Brad was paired with a young Nicklas Lidstrom. Though he focused on defence, allowing Lidström to be more creative offensively, his 29 points were a significant improvement on the 13 he scored the season before.

He played one more season in Detroit before again being traded, this time to the Hartford Whalers on June 1, 1993, in exchange for a sixth round draft pick In Hartford, he served as a mentor for 18-year-old Chris Pronger.

Offensively, Brad scored 16 points total in three seasons with the Whalers between 1993 and 1996. Leaving the team as a free agent, he signed with the Phoenix Coyotes for the 1996–97 season. He appeared in 37 games that season, scoring one goal and adding five assists. Following the season, he announced his retirement.

Brad was paired with some of the best defencemen of his generation. In addition to Lidstrom and Pronger, he played with Hockey Hall of Famers Ray Bourque, Mark Howe and Paul Coffey. He was known as a stay at home defenceman who focused on limiting the opposition's chances.

He played a physical game, often in the "dirty" areas of the ice, battling opponents in the corners and in front of the net. His career plus-minus was +444, a total surpassed by only nine players as of 2012.

Brian Propp (a teammate of Brad's in Philadelphia) said that he was one of the most under-rated defencemen of his time.

Coaching CareerEdit

Brad moved behind the bench shortly after his retirement, joining the New York Islanders as an assistant coach to Mike Milbury on August 19, 1997. He left the team after two years to become head coach of the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League in 1999.

In two seasons with the team, he coached 144 games, winning 50 & tying 15 and coached the Blades to a second-place finish in the East Division in 1999–2000 and a seven-game opening round playoff victory over the Regina Pats before the team was eliminated by the Calgary Hitmen.

Returning to the NHL in 2000, Brad joined the Calgary Flames as an assistant to Don Hay. He remained with the team for two and a half seasons, serving under both Hay and successor Greg Gilbert until the team replaced its coaching staff on December 3, 2002.

Brad returned to the NHL in 2004 as an assistant for the Atlanta Thrashers. He was promoted to associate coach in his fourth season when team general manager Don Waddell fired head coach Bob Hartley during the 2007–08 season.

he had been offered the Thrashers head coaching position after Waddell's dismissal, but turned it down after the team failed to guarantee he would retain the position beyond the end of the season. Leaving the Thrashers, he signed a three-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008 to serve as an assistant coach.

Looking to further his career, Brad left Detroit on May 19, 2011 and was introduced as head coach of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) on May 29, 2011. He hoped that coaching the Russian club would help him land an NHL head coaching position in the future.

Brad never coached a game for Lokomotiv because on September 7, 2011, the team's plane crashed on take off en route to their first game of the season & he died along with nearly his entire team.

Career StatisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1974–75Prince Albert RaidersSJHL3842226
1975–76Prince Albert RaidersSJHL46193958126
1976–77Brandon Wheat KingsWCHL7218668496153101316
1977–78Brandon Wheat KingsWCHL6519789724582111320
1978–79Brandon Wheat KingsWHL66247498139229192834
1978–79Brandon Wheat KingsM-Cup505510
1979–80Boston BruinsNHL7251116941011228
1980–81Boston BruinsNHL7811182914830112
1981–82Boston BruinsNHL781898320002
1982–83Philadelphia FlyersNHL79421256130004
1983–84Philadelphia FlyersNHL71024247610004
1984–85Philadelphia FlyersNHL6683543811121315
1985–86Philadelphia FlyersNHL801343568552022
1986–87Philadelphia FlyersNHL71102939522635830
1987–88Calgary FlamesNHL807354298923522
1988–89Calgary FlamesNHL7251722962203330
1989–90Calgary FlamesNHL79415197860228
1990–91Detroit Red WingsNHL640131381711221
1991–92Detroit Red WingsNHL7972229118110118
1992–93Detroit Red WingsNHL601141571
1993–94Hartford WhalersNHL6515672
1994–95Hartford WhalersNHL3301142
1995–96Hartford WhalersNHL5836962
1996–97Phoenix CoyotesNHL3715618
NHL totals1222813224031416116111829176


Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
Junior totals111456


Season Team League Regular season Post season
G W L T OTL Pct Division rank Result
1998–99 Saskatoon Blades WHL 72 16 49 7 .271 6th East Did not qualify
1999–00 Saskatoon Blades WHL 72 34 30 8 3 .549 2nd East Lost in second round
WHL totals 144 50 76 15 3 .410

International PlayEdit

Medal record
Competitor for Flag of Canada.svg Canada
Men's ice hockey
World Junior Championships
Bronze 1978 Canada


Award Year
SJHL Defenceman of the Year 1975–76
Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy
WCHL Defenceman of the Year
WCHL/WHL All-Star Team 1977–78
Memorial Cup All-Star Team 1979
National Hockey League
Second Team All-Star 1987–88
NHL Plus-Minus Award 1987–88
Team awards
Barry Ashbee Trophy
Philadelphia Flyers' top defenceman
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