Status: Ottawa Senators pro scout. Former Detroit Red Wings head coach and assistant GM. Former AHL and WHA defenseman.
DOB: March 25, 1941 in Copper Cliff, Ont.
First Hockey Memory: “Going down to Stanley Stadium in Copper Cliff, Ontario, early in the morning, six o’clock in the morning and having a game with a bunch of other guys.”
Hockey Heroes: “Scott Bowman.” (Why?) “Well, he gave me my first job in the NHL and he won the Stanley Cup and he’s a great man.”
Last Book Read: “Was Jimmy Devellano’s autobiography (The Road to Hockeytown: Jimmy Devellano’s Forty Years in the NHL).”
Current Car: “I drive a Cadillac SRX (black).”
First Job: “Working up in Sudbury with the Italian contractors. And I was lifting bags of cement for 12 hours a day (age 16).”
Greatest Sports Moment: “Being named head coach of the Detroit Red Wings (1982).”
Most Painful Moment: “Mr. Ilitch – when he didn’t want me to coach anymore. But he was kind enough to move me upstairs (1985).”
Favorite Uniforms: “Oh boy, Chicago Blackhawks.”
Favorite Arena: “All the new ones are great. They’re state of the art, they’re fabulous.”
Closest Hockey Friends: “Bryan Murray, Jimmy Devellano, Scotty Bowman, there’s so many, Al Coates, Al MacNeil. So many, I’m afraid I’m not mentioning some, I have so many friends.”
Funniest Hockey Person Encountered: “Tommy McVie is the funniest man I’ve ever been around in hockey.” (What is it about him?) “He can sit here for five minutes and have you on the floor laughing. He’s just a great storyteller.” (Remember one?) “There’s too many. I sat beside him recently in a game in Boston and he had me going again. I try to stay away from him (smiles). He’s a great guy.”
Toughest Competitors Encountered: “Steve Yzerman. I coached Steve his first year in the National Hockey League in Detroit. We didn’t have a very good team in those days, but this kid got us into the playoffs. He was 18 years old, scored 39 goals. Everybody talks about his skill but he competed every night.”
Most Memorable Goal: “I think my first goal in the American Hockey League with Hershey. I had a breakaway – it was the first breakaway that I ever had in my life – and I scored on it.” (Where?) “In Hershey against the Cleveland Barons.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “So, so many things. I think riding the buses, playing in Hershey in the American Hockey League, when guys would be sleeping and guys would light their shoelaces (laughs).
Favorite Players To Watch: “Marty St-Louis, Stamkos, Jason Spezza on our team. I like watching him. All around the league there’s just great young players now.”
Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “None. Hockey’s hockey. Only hockey.”
Personality Qualities Most Admired: “I just like honest people, people that are direct and fair. Just honest people. And there’s a lot of them that I’ve met in hockey. Too many to mention, but that’s what I really like in people. People you can trust and that are honest.”
Topics: Assistant Gm, Cadillac Srx, Chicago Blackhawks, Coates Al, Copper Cliff, Detroit Red Wings, Greatest Sports, Head Coach, Hockey Friends, Hockey Heroes, Ilitch, Mcvie, National Hockey League, Ottawa Senators, Painful Moment, Scott Bowman, Scotty Bowman, Sports Moment, Stanley Cup, Steve Yzerman