Former Vancouver coach, Bob McCammon, also passes away at age 80
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
The holidays became a sombre occasion as the Canucks mourned the passing of alumni players, Curt Ridley and Jim Wiley—as well as former Vancouver coach, Bob McCammon.
The Vancouver Canucks entered the Holiday Season in a celebratory mood, winning six consecutive games bef0re Christmas Day with their new head coach, Bruce Boudreau. The team was in better spirits, displaying more confidence than had been seen before the coaching change.
Sadly, the holidays instead became a sombre occasion. The organization is mourning the passing of alumni players, Curt Ridley and Jim Wiley—as well as former Canucks coach, Bob McCammon. Ridley passed away on December 19 at age 70. NHL.com reported Ridley was a veteran of 104 games, playing for the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs from 1974 till 1980. The NHL Alumni posted their condolences on Twitter on December 21: “Curt was the first goaltender to ever be drafted from Tier II junior hockey. We send our deepest condolences to Curt’s family, friends and former teammates during this difficult time.”
Jim Wiley died December 26 at age 71. The Mercury News reported on December 27 that Wiley had been a coach with the San Jose Sharks organization for seven years in the 1990s. His professional playing career spanned seven seasons (1972 till 1980). This included 62 games in the NHL: playing 26 with Pittsburgh (1972 till 1974) and 36 with Vancouver (1974 till 1977). In 2017, Wiley was inducted into the Sault Ste. Marie Hockey Hall of Fame (player category) as reported by SooToday. The Vancouver Canucks Alumni Association posted on Twitter on December 28: “#CanucksAlumni are saddened to hear the passing of Jim Wiley. Condolences to the family and friends of Jim.”
Bob McCammon passed away on December 23 at age 80. He had two coaching stints with the Philadelphia Flyers (1978-1979 and 1981-1984). McCammon later was an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers (1985-1986), before becoming the head coach for the Canucks from 1987 till 1991. He led the team to its first playoff appearance in three years as underdogs, facing the highly favoured Calgary Flames in the first round in 1989 (Smythe Division semi-final). The Canucks forced a game seven in Calgary, with the game going into overtime. But Calgary scored the winning goal to clinch the series—on a questionable goal by Joel Otto (Calgary later won the Stanley Cup). McCammon was later fired by president and general manager, Pat Quinn, in 1991 with Quinn taking over coaching duties.
The Vancouver Canucks Alumni Association released a statement, expressing condolences over the passing of McCammon—as reported by The Province on December 24: “Bob will be sorely missed—[by] not just those who played for him when he was the head coach for the Flyers and the Canucks, but equally those in the hockey world including, most importantly, his many friends from the Vancouver Canucks Alumni Association and Vancouver Canucks.”