Sunday

John McIntyre

Arguably the most cherished season in Vancouver Canucks history was the 1994 season when they came within one win - one goal - of winning the Stanley Cup.

There were some great players on that team. Trevor Linden carried the team on his back. Pavel Bure wowed the crowds with incredible goals. Kirk McLean was literally the team's saving grace. Greg Adams scored big goals. Geoff Courtnall, Martin Gelinas, Cliff Ronning . . .

Do you know who was recognized as the team's unsung hero that special season?

John McIntyre, the team's 4th line center. Right from the on-set McIntyre made a career as a perfect 4th line center. In Vancouver that season he often played with Tim Hunter and either Gino Odjick or Shawn Antoski. He only scored 3 goals and 9 points that season, and picked up just 1 assist in the 24 game playoff run. But he was a great glue guy on that team, sacrificing offense for defensive assignments, penalty kills, faceoffs and energy shifts. He was a sturdy, physical presence, seemingly much bigger than his listed stats.

John McIntyre was born in Ravenswood, Ontario on March 9th 1969. He played his minor hockey in Forest and Thedford, dreaming of one day playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Lo and behold, McIntyre was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round, 49th overall, in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. A member of the OHL's Guelph Platers, he likely would have been a high draft pick if it were not for a broken leg. He was a big part of the Platers Memorial Cup championship the season prior. Scouts still liked something about McIntyre, despite his thin frame, injury history and little offensive production.

John joined the Maple Leafs for the 1989-1990 season, basically stepping directly into the NHL straight from junior. He earned quiet praise for his strong play, but with just 5 goals the Leafs shipped "Johnny Mac" to the Los Angeles Kings early in the following season. They landed veteran Mike Krushelnyski in the trade.

McIntyre put together two and a half solid seasons as the Kings' 4th line center before a late season trade to the NY Rangers for former King defender Mark Hardy.

Mac's career in New York was short lived. After ending the 1993 season with 11 games played, he started the 1993-94 campaign on waivers. The Canucks claimed him, but McIntyre would be back in Manhattan in June of '94, trying to win the Stanley Cup with his new team at the expense of his former team. Unfortunately McIntyre and the Canucks came up one goal short in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

McIntyre more or less disappeared after that. He played in just 28 games in the lock-out shortened 1994-95 season, scoring 0 goals. He was demoted to the minor leagues in 1995-96, playing with Syracuse. But rather than toil away on the busses of the minor leagues, McIntyre opted to retire from the game.

Last I heard McIntyre was living in Plympton Township with his wife and daughter. He had returned to what his family had always done - farming.

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