Kelly “Crim” McCrimmon comes from a hockey family whose story can only be described as both joyous and tragic. The name of Kelly’s brother, Brad McCrimmon, can be found painted on the welcome sign as you enter their hometown of Plenty, Saskatchewan — a place whose population topped out at 164 in 2016. Brad played 1,222 games in the NHL with six different teams and was an assistant coach with the New York Islanders, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers, and Detroit Red Wings before his life was tragically cut short during the 2011 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash.
Only a year younger than his brother, Kelly embarked on a hockey career of his own when in 1978 he began playing with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League. A franchise to which he would return eight years later as both an assistant and head coach, GM, and eventually sole owner.
The three-time WHL executive of the year led the club to ten Eastern Division championships, six conference championships, and twice to the WHL finals. The hockey world entertained rumors in 2015 that the Toronto Maple Leafs were one of a handful of teams looking to hire him but all offers were respectfully turned down due to his burning desire to finish the job in Brandon.
His team would go on to hoist the Ed Chynoweth Cup the following year.
On August 2nd, 2016, he agreed to make the NHL leap by accepting a position as the assistant general manager for the Vegas Golden Knights. He would play an integral part in the expansion draft process and while initially receiving widespread criticism, built a Stanley Cup contender by arguably drafting the right players for the job and not necessarily the best available. What they have accomplished in the Sin City has changed the game as we know it while presenting a dose of reality to GM’s across the league.
Player scouting and development are critical components to any expansion process and Kelly has a toolbox built for it — making him a strong contender for the GM position here in Seattle.
“The job McPhee and McCrimmon did in assembling the Vegas roster through the expansion draft is one reason why McCrimmon will likely be among the favorites to become general manager of Seattle’s expansion franchise,” writes Arash Markazi, senior writer at ESPN. “For now, however, McCrimmon is focused on Vegas winning three more games and completing one of the greatest stories in sports history.”
While I believe his experience and performance would place him at the top of almost anyone’s list, it is his persistence to see jobs through which leave me questioning whether he would jump ship in Vegas as soon as next year. Then again, he is an individual who has proven to be more than capable of holding down the job as a general manager and may be looking to ink his name deeper in hockey lore.