Ex-Bruin McNab inducted into U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame
Peter McNab, a key player on the hard-working Bruins’ teams of the late 1970s and early ‘80s known as the Lunchpail AC, was elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Thursday.
McNab, acquired from the Buffalo Sabres for Andre Savard in one of GM Harry Sinden’s excellent trades of that era, notched 587 points in 595 games in seven-plus seasons with the Bruins. That total puts him at 13th on the B’s all-time scoring list, sandwiched between Hall of Famers Cam Neely at 12th and Milt Schmidt at 14th.
McNab, who played NCAA hockey at the University of Denver and has been a longtime TV analyst for the Colorado Avalanche, was born in Vancouver but is a naturalized American citizen, making him eligible for the U.S. Hall.
Son of former NHLer Max McNab, the former Bruin spent his formative years in California when his father became the coach of the Western Hockey League’s San Diego Gulls. He was a sixth-round draft pick in 1972 of the Buffalo Sabres and went to the Cup final with the Sabres in 1975. He also played for the Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils at the end of his career. But it was his time in Boston that defined his career. He had six straight seasons of 35-plus goals, went to two Cup finals in 1977 and ‘78, losing both times to the Montreal Canadiens, and then coming within a too-many-men-on-theice call from dethroning that dynastic Habs team in 1979.
But in a conference call on Thursday, McNab didn’t talk so much about the wins and losses as much as the people of that heydey.
“It was the greatest time of my life. There’s just no getting around it,” said McNab. “It was just one of those things that I’ll never be able to actually describe, the impact it had on me. I got there and I filled a role, but everybody did the same. It was a team. I remember Gerry Cheevers, the first day I’m there, he said to me, ‘How much do you make?’ I told him and he said, ‘Well, here’s where you should live. You don’t want to live here and you don’t want to live here.’ It was a team, and we cared. We went three years in a row with probably the most frustrating losses you’d ever have, but as a group, it was so spectacular to be part of it. And over the course of time. I have met more people who lived in New England who loved that team because they had character. They had a personality. They were a special group. And to say that I was a part of it is such an honor. It was so much fun. We maybe had too much fun at times, but I roomed with the same guy the whole time, Rick Middleton, and you couldn’t have a better roommate. Mike Milbury, Terry O’Reilly ... the minute you say their names, you’re flooded with emotions.”