Al MacAdam

In stark contrast to its provincial neighbors, Prince Edward Island has not boasted a plethora of NHL talent over the years. As of 2007, only 24 players born in PEI made it to the NHL. Most notable are Brad Richards and Steve Ott, former Red Wings veteran Gerard Gallant, goalie Gary "Cobra" Simmons, former Leaf Errol Thompson, as well as the MacMillan brothers, Bobby and Billy.

Al MacAdam was the pride of the province from the mid-'70s to the mid-'80s, and perhaps the greatest Prince Edward Islander of all time. Affectionately known by teammates as "Big Al" or "Mac," he was an extremely talented skater and two-way player who could always be counted upon to show up to every game (he missed a mere 21 games over the course of 11 seasons) and to produce solid numbers for his teams (many of which, mind you, were not the most competitive in the league). The moustached MacAdam, who donned #25 throughout his NHL career, was adept on both right wing and left, and he could play in virtually all situations. Said former line mate Bobby Smith, "[MacAdam is] one of the people I admire most in the whole world."

A product of the Maritime Junior Hockey League and the University of PEI (where, over the course of his career, he finished his Bachelor of Arts), MacAdam was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the fourth round of the 1972 Draft. He spent two years in the Flyers' AHL affiliate Richmond Robins in order to elevate his game. In April of 1974, en route to their first-ever Stanley Cup, the Flyers called up MacAdam to play in a semifinals contest against the Rangers. MacAdam's name was never inscribed on the Cup, although he did receive a championship ring for having skated in the playoffs.

MacAdam was traded not long thereafter to the California Golden Seals in a package deal that sent future Conn Smythe winner Reggie Leach the other way. He scored his first NHL goal that October in a game at Madison Square Garden, and over time blossomed into a dependable first-line winger. As MacAdam noted in retrospect, "Going to California, I got a chance to play in all situations, so I got the confidence to play in the NHL." In 1975-76, the popular 3M Line was constructed featuring rookie Dennis Maruk at center and Bob Murdoch and MacAdam on the wings. The bulk of the Seals' offensive production ended up coming from this line. MacAdam finished the season leading the team in goals (32), points (63), and game-winning goals (5). In January of 1976, he became the first-ever California representative to score in an All-Star Game.

The 3M Line remained intact when the franchise relocated to Cleveland and became the Barons for the 1976-77 campaign. MacAdam continued to be a model of consistency and was selected as an All-Star for the second consecutive year. The following year, he was even made team captain. However, MacAdam was unhappy with the direction in which the Barons were headed, and he would not be afraid to criticize things such as low attendance at home games, poor performance in the standings, and management's inability to meet payroll. In fact, MacAdam and a teammate threatened to go on strike upon hearing that management wanted to defer player salaries. After two seasons in Cleveland, the franchise was absorbed by the Minnesota North Stars.

It was in Minnesota that MacAdam sealed his legacy as a player. In 1979-80, playing on a line with Bobby Smith and Steve Payne, he exploded offensively with 42 goals and 51 assists, and had a plus-minus of +36. A highlight came in January of that season, when the North Stars ended the historic 35-game undefeated streak of his former team Philadelphia. That postseason, MacAdam earned the reputation as being "Mr. Clutch": he scored the overtime series-clinching goal in Game 3 of their Best-of-5, Preliminary Round match up against the Maple Leafs, and he scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of their Quarterfinal match up against Montreal (effectively ending the Canadiens' run for a fifth-straight Cup, although Ken Dryden and Jacques Lemaire had retired and Guy Lafleur was injured for the Minnesota series). After bowing out in the semis, MacAdam was awarded for his dedication and perseverance with the 1980 Masterton Trophy. In 1981, MacAdam would help his team make a Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals, falling short to the dynastic Islanders.

MacAdam enjoyed his time in Minnesota, especially in making life long friends in Smith and Payne.

"Smith and Payne wanted to play right away in the NHL and the coach felt I was the guy who could balance them out at both ends of the ice," MacAdam said. "I was the mature guy on the line. We had a big line. They were 6-3 and 6-4 and I was a little over 6 feet. We clicked right away. They came out of a winning environment with the Ottawa 67s. Bobby was a high draft choice and he had that to prove and wanted to prove it. He pushed himself and others rose to a higher level. Then, we got key people like Paul Shmyr and Curt Giles, people who knew how to win and came from winning teams."

MacAdam capped off his career in 1984-85 with the Vancouver Canucks (and their horrendous "V" uniforms). In all, he compiled 240 goals and 351 assists for 591 points in 864 regular season games.

Following retirement, MacAdam got involved in coaching and scouting, mostly in the collegiate, junior and minor pro scenes in the Canadian Maritimes, where his heart will always be.

Article contributed by Vikash Khanna


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