Who says you can’t go home? Amidst stories that Georges Laraque would like to return to the NHL was the story that Craig MacTavish might be returning to the Oilers.
As the story grew, it was reported by the Vancouver Canucks that MacT was leaving his coaching position with the Canucks’ AHL affiliate team the Chicago Wolves to pursue other opportunities. With that release speculation grew that MacT was taking a management position with the Oilers. And now we have an official press release from the Oilers saying that Craig MacTavish is the new Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations. There will be more information later this afternoon at a press address.
General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have added Craig MacTavish to the club’s Hockey Operations Management team as Senior Vice-President, Hockey Operations.
MacTavish, 53, was the Head Coach of the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League this past season, where he led the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate to a 42-27-7 record, third best in the conference.
Named the eighth coach in Oilers history on June 22, 2000, MacTavish compiled a career record of 301-252-103 (.537) in 656 regular season games over the course of eight seasons (2000-01 to 2008-09).
MacTavish became the 36th coach in NHL history to win 300-or-more games with a 5-3 win versus the Vancouver Canucks on April 4th at Rexall Place.
He completed his coaching tenure behind the Oilers bench after the 2008-09 season, ranking second among Edmonton coaches in games coached, wins, losses, ties/overtime losses and winning percentage and ranked 36th all-time in NHL history in wins and 41st in games coached.
The former Oilers’ captain has a 17-13 (.567) record in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and became the third coach to lead the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final.
In 2005-06 MacTavish guided the Oilers to their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 1990, as Edmonton fell in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes. After finishing the regular season in 8th place in the NHL’s Western Conference standings with a 41-28-13 record, MacTavish led the Oilers to within a game of their sixth Stanley Cup. In the post-season the Oilers went 15-9 and defeated the President Trophy winning Detroit Red Wings, the San Jose Sharks and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on their way to winning the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl as Western Conference champions.
After departing the Oilers organization following the 2008-09 season, MacTavish earned a master’s degree in business from Queen’s University and spent two years as an analyst for the NHL on TSN.
Craig MacTavish may be best known outside of Edmonton for being the last NHL player who didn’t wear a helmet, or perhaps you do recognize the name as the coach that led the 2006 Edmonton Oilers to the Stanley Cup finals. But no matter what you know, or think you know about MacT, Jim Matheson’s article in the Edmonton Journal will be sure to teach you a thing or two.
If you’re close to Craig MacTavish, you’ll have a nickname; it’s an honour he bestows out of affection and a dry, spontaneous sense of humour.
So when the former Edmonton Oilers player and coach was told he had a cancer that starts in the lymphocytes, white blood cells that form part of the body’s immune system, he used an acronym to nickname that, too.
Known as MacT to fans and Mac to his friends, he repeats the name non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, then slowly pronounces the first letter of each word.
“I am back in the NHL,” MacTavish, 53, says before breaking into that familiar belly laugh.
He isn’t back in the National Hockey League, but he’s only a skate blade away.
Love him or hate him, Craig MacTavish was a huge piece of Edmonton Oilers’ history; both as a player and a coach. MacT was of course the last player in the NHL to choose not to wear a helmet and is my personal hero for tugging the tongue out of Harvey the Hounds mouth. I will note that that tongue is now strongly reinforced and would require scissors for removal.
On Monday September 12th, Mark Spector was able to catch up with the head coach of the Chicago Wolves, the Vancouver Canucks AHL team in Penticton B.C.
About Oil Patch
Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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