Four time Stanley Cup champion and “first class Winnipegger” Ab McDonald has passed away at age 82.
Former hockey star Ab McDonald dead at 82. Won 4 Stanley Cups with Montreal, Chicago. Was 1st captain of Winnipeg Jets in inaugural WHA season in 1972-73; also scored franchise’s 1st goal.
McDonald played 762 regular season NHL games split between the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues. He was also named the first captain in Winnipeg Jets history and scored the very first goal in team history, back in 1972 when the team was still part of the World Hockey Association (WHA). A Winnipeg native, McDonald was a legend in his hometown.
“I hope they remember him as a first-class Winnipeger who loved his hometown, loved his sport, loved people, and just genuinely a nice guy,” said friend Joe Daley, a former teammate of McDonald’s. “We always lose the ones we love before we want to.”
“He wanted to be around people, loved people, and certainly loved his family. He had a beautiful family — has a beautiful family — and I know they’re gonna miss him,” said Daley.
True North chairman and Jets owner Mark Chipman called McDonald a legend of Winnipeg’s hockey history. “Whether it was at a Manitoba Moose game or a Jets’ game, he was quick with a smile and willing to engage in a talk about the game he loved,” Chipman said in a statement issued by the Winnipeg Jets.
“As a valuable contributor to our organization, he was influential in helping us reconnect with such an important group in our history — the Winnipeg Jets Alumni and Friends. He will be greatly missed.”
Read below for the full statement from Chipman courtesy of the Jets' official website:
True North Sports + Entertainment Chairman and Winnipeg Jets Governor Mark Chipman issued a statement today on the death of Ab McDonald, the very first captain in Winnipeg Jets franchise history.
"We at True North Sports + Entertainment and the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club are saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. McDonald. He was a legend in this city's hockey history as the first captain of the Winnipeg Jets in 1972 and scoring the team's first ever goal in the World Hockey Association. As a Winnipegger, he made this city proud by also playing 14 seasons in the NHL and capturing four Stanley Cups. His reputation as an outstanding teammate carried over into his life after hockey. Off the ice, Mr. McDonald always represented our hockey community proudly. Whether it was at a Manitoba Moose game or a Jets game, he was quick with a smile and willing to engage in a talk about the game he loved. As a valuable contributor to our organization, he was influential in helping us reconnect with such an important group in our history - the Winnipeg Jets Alumni and Friends. He will be greatly missed."
Rest in peace, Ab McDonald. Gone, but never forgotten.
Photo Credit: Zuma Press