Craig MacTavish

Craig MacTavish (born August 15, 1958) is a Canadian professional ice hockey executive and former player. He last coached Russian team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL . He played centre for 17 seasons in the National Hockey League with the Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues, winning the Stanley Cup four times (1987, 1988, 1990, 1994). MacTavish later coached the Oilers from 2000 to 2009 and also served as assistant coach with the Rangers and Oilers.

Craig MacTavish
Born (1958-08-15) August 15, 1958
London, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Boston Bruins
Edmonton Oilers
New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers
St. Louis Blues
NHL Draft 153rd overall, 1978
Boston Bruins
Playing career 19791997

He is notable as the last NHL player to not wear a helmet during games.[1][2][3]

Early career

MacTavish played two years of NCAA hockey with the University of Lowell Chiefs (now University of Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks) from 1977 to 1979. He was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 1978 NHL Entry Draft with their ninth pick, 153rd overall, and spent the next several years splitting time between the Bruins and various American Hockey League teams. He finally made the Bruins for good in 1982–83 and played two full seasons with them.

During his early days with the Bruins, the young MacTavish was involved in the infamous brawl between several Boston players and a group of New York Rangers fans in 1979.[4]

MacTavish missed the 1984–85 season after being convicted of vehicular homicide, having struck and killed a young woman while he was driving under the influence of alcohol. MacTavish pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol the night of January 25, 1984, in Peabody, Massachusetts. Kim Radley, 26, of West Newfield, Maine, died four days later of injuries sustained in the crash.[5] MacTavish was sentenced to a year's imprisonment for the offence. While incarcerated, he watched most of the games that were televised.

Later career

Widely viewed at the time as a personal favour from Edmonton general manager Glen Sather to his best friend, then-Bruins general manager Harry Sinden (who felt that MacTavish ought to have a fresh start away from Boston and had offered to let him out of his contract, which MacTavish had accepted), the Oilers took a chance on MacTavish and signed him for the 1985–86 season. Sather's intuition turned out to be good, as MacTavish spent eight full seasons with the Oilers, helping them to win three Stanley Cups in 1987, 1988, 1990 and serving as team captain from 1992 to 1994. MacTavish was traded to the New York Rangers in 1994, just in time to help several other former Oilers (including Kevin Lowe, Glenn Anderson, Adam Graves, Jeff Beukeboom, Esa Tikkanen and Mark Messier) win the Stanley Cup.[6]

The next season MacTavish signed with the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent, and was traded to the St. Louis Blues during the 1995–96 season. MacTavish retired following the 1996–97 season. He was the last helmetless player, having signed a professional contract with the Bruins before the mandatory cutoff date in 1979 (then-current players were allowed to remain bare-headed under a grandfather clause); incidentally, MacTavish had worn a helmet in his earliest days as he can be seen wearing one during the aforementioned fight with Rangers fans in 1979.

Coaching career

MacTavish turned to coaching immediately after retiring as a player, signing on as an assistant with the Rangers. After two seasons in New York, he returned to the Oilers as an assistant coach in the 1999–2000 season under former teammate Kevin Lowe. He was subsequently promoted to the top job when Lowe succeeded Sather as general manager.

In the 2005–06 season, MacTavish led the Oilers on their run to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the first round of the playoffs, MacTavish shocked the hockey world by utilizing a trapping defensive system to neutralize a potent Detroit Red Wings offence. The Oilers were able to deny scoring chances by blocking shots with their bodies—something for which MacTavish was known for during his playing career. This proved effective; the eighth-seeded Oilers won the opening round 4–2, against the no. 1 seed, the Detroit Red Wings. Along the way the Oilers defeated the San Jose Sharks and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, 4–2 and 4–1 respectively. The Oilers could not complete their run, losing a thrilling seven-game final series to the Carolina Hurricanes, though they rallied from a 3–1 series deficit to even it. The Oilers had not reached the Stanley Cup finals since their championship season of 1990 during MacTavish's playing tenure in Edmonton.

On November 4, 2006, one day after the Oilers lost to the Dallas Stars due to an apparent blown call in the last five seconds of the third period by referee Mick McGeough, MacTavish was fined $10,000 for expressing his anger after the game, referring to the call as "retarded".[7][8] After this incident, Oilers fans collected over $10,000 and gave it to MacTavish, who subsequently donated the money to charity.

On April 15, 2009, Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini announced that MacTavish had been relieved of his duties as head coach of the club. The Oilers had failed to reach the playoffs for the third year in a row.[9] He finished his tenure with the Oilers at 36th on the all-time NHL list with 301 wins, and second on the Oilers' all-time wins list behind only Sather.

During the 2011–12 season, MacTavish coached the Chicago Wolves, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. After the season, MacTavish left the Canucks organization, returned to the Oilers as Sr VP of Hockey operations and was named GM on Apr 15 2013.

On December 15, 2014, MacTavish fired head coach Dallas Eakins from his duties as head coach of the Oilers. MacTavish named himself Interim coach with the intention of transitioning minor league coach Todd Nelson in to the role of interim head coach in the near future.

On May 16, 2019, he returned to coaching, signing a two-year contract with the Russian KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.[10]

On September 24, 2019, it was announced that Lokomotiv Yaroslav fired MacTavish after only 8 games[11].

TSN commentator

Failing to be picked up by another team in the coaching department, on September 21, 2009, MacTavish began the first of twenty-five in-studio appearances with TSN as a hockey commentator.[12][12][13]

Management career

On June 11, 2012, Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini announced that Craig McTavish was added to the club's hockey operations management team as senior vice-president of hockey operations.[14]

On April 15, 2013, general manager Steve Tambellini was relieved of his position, and the Oilers named MacTavish as the new general manager. Former Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson replaced MacTavish as the vice-president of hockey operations.[15] After two seasons, MacTavish was relieved of his position as general manager, and the Oilers named Peter Chiarelli the new general manager and president of hockey operations.

On April 24, 2015, Oilers Entertainment Group CEO, Bob Nicholson announced that Peter Chiarelli had been hired as the new general manager and president of hockey operations. Nicholson did not provide details on what MacTavish's new position would be within the Oilers organization.[16]

On September 12, 2015, general manager Peter Chiarelli revealed in an interview with TSN's Bob McKenzie that MacTavish had been given the title of Vice President of Hockey Operations; most of his duties would circulate around the Oilers' new affiliate team the Bakersfield Condors, his other main focus will be on pro scouting.[1]

Personal life

While playing with the Flyers, MacTavish was a resident of Voorhees Township, New Jersey.[17]

Awards and achievements

Coaching record

TeamYearRegular seasonPost season
GWLTOTLPtsFinishWLWin %Result
EDM2000–01 823928123932nd in Northwest24.333Lost in 1st round (Dallas)
EDM2001–02 823828124923rd in NorthwestMissed playoffs
EDM2002–03 823626119924th in Northwest24.333Lost in 1st round (Dallas)
EDM2003–04 823629125894th in NorthwestMissed playoffs
EDM2005–06 82412813953rd in Northwest159.625Lost in Stanley Cup final (Carolina)
EDM2006–07 8232437715th in NorthwestMissed playoffs
EDM2007–08 8241356884th in NorthwestMissed playoffs
EDM2008–09 8238359854th in NorthwestMissed playoffs
Career total65630125247566941917.528

Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1977–78UMass Lowell ChiefsECAC II24261945
1978–79UMass Lowell ChiefsECAC II31365288
1979–80Binghamton DustersAHL3417153220
1979–80Boston BruinsNHL461117288102357
1980–81Springfield IndiansAHL531924438975498
1980–81Boston BruinsNHL2435813
1981–82Erie BladesAHL7223325537
1981–82Boston BruinsNHL20110
1982–83Boston BruinsNHL75102030181731418
1983–84Boston BruinsNHL702023433510000
1984–85Did not play (incarcerated)
1985–86Edmonton OilersNHL74232447701044811
1986–87Edmonton OilersNHL792019395521191016
1987–88Edmonton OilersNHL80151732471901131
1988–89Edmonton OilersNHL802131525570118
1989–90Edmonton OilersNHL80212243892226829
1990–91Edmonton OilersNHL80171532761833620
1991–92Edmonton OilersNHL80121830981630328
1992–93Edmonton OilersNHL82102030110
1993–94Edmonton OilersNHL6616102680
1993–94New York RangersNHL12426112314522
1994–95Philadelphia FlyersNHL453912231514520
1995–96Philadelphia FlyersNHL55581362
1995–96St. Louis BluesNHL130118130226
1996–97St. Louis BluesNHL502573310002
NHL totals 1093 213 267 480 891 193 20 38 58 218

See also

  • List of NHL players with 1000 games played


  1. "Video". TSN. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  2. McGran, Kevin (June 5, 2013). "Place in trivia history awaits NHL's last visor-less player". The Toronto Star. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  3. Johnston, Chris (November 27, 2015). "Visor-less NHLers an increasingly rare sight". Sportsnet. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  4. Rotter, Adam (May 15, 2013). "Flashback: When The Bruins and Mike Milbury Went Into The Stands". SportsNet New York. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  5. "SPORTS PEOPLE; MacTavish Is Free". New York Times. May 14, 1985. Retrieved September 14, 2009.
  6. Cole, Stephen (2004). The Best of Hockey Night in Canada. Toronto: McArthur & Company. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-55278-408-2.
  7. "Oilers' MacTavish fined". November 4, 2006. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  9. "404". TSN.
  10. "КРЭЙГ МАКТАВИШ – ГЛАВНЫЙ ТРЕНЕР "ЛОКОМОТИВА"" [Craig MacTavish is the head coach of Lokomotiv] (in Russian). Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. May 16, 2019.
  11. "Craig MacTavish fired after eight games as coach of KHL's Lokomotiv -".
  12. Staples, David (September 15, 2009). "Witty MacTavish finds "safe haven" at TSN". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on September 24, 2009. Retrieved November 1, 2009.
  13. Staples, David (September 30, 2007). "Behind the man behind the bench". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on May 23, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2009.
  14. "Oilers Add MacTavish to Hockey Operations Management Team".
  15. "404". TSN.
  16. Spector, Mark (April 24, 2015). "Oilers set to announce Peter Chiarelli hire". Sportsnet. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  17. Anderson, Dave. "Sports of The Times; MacT's Muscular Art: The Crucial Face-Off", The New York Times, May 22, 1995. Accessed March 17, 2011. "Despite their age difference, MacTavish and the 22-year-old Lindros are roommates on Flyer road trips, and the Flyer captain often hangs out at the MacTavish home in nearby Voorhees, N.J."
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