Thursday, March 12, 2015

Kevin McClelland Autograph Card

Kevin McClelland was one tough hockey player. Tough enough to replace Dave Semenko as the resident Edmonton Oilers policeman, serving as one of Wayne Gretzky's on-ice bodyguards through four Stanley Cup victories - two against the Philadelphia Flyers, and one against the Boston Bruins. Yeah, just that.

He surpassed the 200-PIM mark in four straight seasons in the middle of the 1980s, followed by a 183-penalty-minute season with the Detroit Red Wings (in just 61 games) in 1989-90, then seasons of 199 (in 34 games!), 221 (55 games) and 233 PIMs (in 39 games!) in the AHL.

On the other end of the score sheet spectrum, he did manage to have three consecutive 10-plus-goal seasons and had over 20 points in 5 of 6 seasons with the Oilers, with a high of 36 in 1985-86. He had garnered some Selke Trophy votes the previous year, despite finishing the season with a minus-11 rating...

Sure, he played in Detroit for a year, and with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets for a few games, but he's an Oiler through and through, so it makes sense that In The Game chose Edmonton's white (then-home) uniform to use on card #A-KM of their Autograph sub-set for their 2013-14 Enforcers II set:
Upon retiring, he moved directly to coaching, first as an assistant with the OHL's Barrie Colts, then as the head coach of the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders, then as an assistant on the AHL's St. John's Maple Leafs, and he's been in the CHL/ECHL for the past decade or so, twice winning Coach Of The Year honors, once with the Memphis RiverKings and once with the Wichita Thunder.

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