Max McNab

Maxwell Douglas McNab (June 21, 1924 – September 2, 2007) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player, coach, and NHL general manager. McNab won the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 1950, centering a line with Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay.[1] He later played in the Western Hockey League, earning league MVP honors in 1955 with the New Westminster Royals.[2]

Max McNab
Born (1924-06-21)June 21, 1924
Watson, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died September 2, 2007(2007-09-02) (aged 83)
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Detroit Red Wings
Playing career 19451959

McNab's coaching and management career included stints as the general manager of the Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils. He also spent time as president of the Central Hockey League; the Max McNab Trophy, awarded to the MVP of the league playoffs, would later be named in his honour.

In 1998, McNab was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy in recognition of his contributions to hockey in the United States.

Playing career

After playing junior hockey in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, McNab played on the Omaha Knights of the USHL in the 1946–48 season before being called up to the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League in 1947. He would play on and off with the Red Wings until 1951, playing on the team that won the Stanley Cup in 1950. He played for the Indianapolis Capitols of the American Hockey League in 1950–51. Before the 1951–52 season, he was traded by the Red Wings to the Chicago Black Hawks, but never played for the team. Back surgery kept him out of action in 1951–52 and McNab then joined the New Westminster Royals of the Western Hockey League, where he played for seven seasons, retiring in 1959. He was voted league MVP in 1955, scoring 32 goals and 81 points.

Coaching and managing

In 1961, McNab became general manager and coach of the San Francisco Seals of the WHL. He was then coach of the WHL's Vancouver Canucks and in 1966 was hired as coach and general manager of the San Diego Gulls. He rose in the front office to vice-president by 1971. In 1974 he was named president of the Central Hockey League. Although he would only remain with the CHL for a year, the Max McNab Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player in the league's playoffs, would be named in his honor.

Near the end of 1975, he joined the NHL as general manager of the Washington Capitals, succeeding Milt Schmidt. McNab remained in that job until 1982. Under his watch, the team drafted players such as Rick Green, Ryan Walter, Mike Gartner, and Bobby Carpenter.

Midway through the 1983–84 season, McNab joined the New Jersey Devils as vice-president and general manager. He would remain their general manager until 1987, and then retired from the team and hockey in the 1990s. During his tenure as Devils' GM, players such as Chris Terreri, Kirk Muller, Sean Burke, and Eric Weinrich would be drafted.

In 1998, McNab was recognized for his contribution to ice hockey in the United States by the NHL and USA Hockey as co-recipient of the Lester Patrick Trophy.


Two of McNab's three sons have hockey-related careers: Peter McNab played in the NHL for 15 seasons, scoring 363 goals and 813 points, and is currently a television color analyst for the Colorado Avalanche; and David McNab is currently Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations with the Anaheim Ducks.[3]

McNabs Island in Nova Scotia is named in honour of the McNab family, who first settled the island in the 1780s.


  1. Litsky, Frank (6 September 2007). "Max McNab, 83, Who Spent 50 Years in Hockey, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  2. McGourty, John (4 September 2007). "The hockey world mourns the loss of Max McNab". National Hockey League. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  3. "Front Office - Anaheim Ducks". National Hockey League. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Milt Schmidt
General Manager of the Washington Capitals
Succeeded by
Roger Crozier
Preceded by
Bill MacMillan
General Manager of the New Jersey Devils
Succeeded by
Lou Lamoriello
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