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May 31, 2016

Flyers great Rick MacLeish passes away at 66

Flyers icon led Cup-winning teams in playoff scoring

On Tuesday, the Flyers announced that one of the key members of the Broad Street Bullies passed away. Rick MacLeish, who led the Orange and Black in points during the 1974 and 1975 playoffs (both of which ended in Stanley Cups for the Flyers), died at the age of 66. 

“Ricky was the most talented player the Flyers had during the 1970s,” Bob Clarke said in a statement released by the team. “Life after hockey wasn’t fair to Ricky. He left us far too soon.”

In total, MacLeish accumulated 697 points in Philadelphia, which is good for fourth in franchise history. He was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame back in 1990.

MacLeish’s most important goal came on May 19th, 1974. In the first period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the 24-year-old MacLeish won a faceoff, skated to the front of the net, and deflected an Andre “Moose” Dupont shot past Boston Bruins goalie Gilles Gilbert. The Flyers’ only goal of the evening was all that Bernie Parent would need that night as the Orange and Black captured the Stanley Cup:

“As far as a wrist shot is concerned, there was no one better at getting that shot away and accurate,” Gary Dornhoefer said. “Ross [Lonsberry] and I would talk and say, ‘Let’s just give Ricky the puck and he’ll put it in.’ If you look at the amount of goals he scored, well, that’s why we kept giving him the puck. Ross and I had cement hands so we’d pass the puck to him. The Flyers could have a mediocre game but because of his skills as a player and the athlete that he was, he could carry us. He was that gifted.”

MacLeish had been in the hospital for a few months battling a few health problems, including meningitis. After his playing days, the Ontario native made his home in Ocean City and was also involved in harness racing.

He is survived by a wife, Charlene, his former wife, Carolyn, and two daughters, Danielle and Brianna.