NHL Hockey: Stan Smyl
Name: Stan Smyl
Born: January 28, 1958 (age 54), Glendon, AB, CAN
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 190 lb (86 kg)
Played for: Vancouver Canucks
National team: Canada
NHL Draft: 40th overall, 1978, Vancouver Canucks
Playing career: 1978–1991
The Original Retiree
Has there been a more iconic Vancouver Canuck? Stan Smyl was and still is one of the faces of Vancouver’s NHL franchise. At the time of his retirement, Smyl owned numerous Canucks records – 896 games, 262 goals and 411 assists all with the same club!
He became the first Canucks player to have his jersey number retired as his #12 was raised to the rafters at the Pacific Coliseum on November 3, 1991.
Smyl was born January 28, 1958 in Glendon, Alberta but made his mark on the West Coast of British Columbia at an early age. First he played in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League with the Bellingham Blazers where he would guide his team to the BC Championships.
He went off to Major Junior Hockey after that and landed with the Western Canada Hockey League’s New Westminster Bruins where he would find more success – two straight WCHL championships and a trip to the Memorial Cup (which the Bruins lost in the final).
The 1976-77 season saw the Bruins return to the Memorial Cup and win the National Championship – something that was repeated the next year in a tournament that Smyl was named MVP.
The Steamer was making quite a name for himself on the West Coast and in 1978 he was drafted 40th overall by the Vancouver Canucks. The legend was born! In 1978-79, Smyl would join the NHL ranks and score 14 goals and 38 points over 62 games.
His gritty style also became evident as he garnered his share of penalty minutes that year. In 1979-80, Smyl led the team in scoring.
It was the 1981-82 season however that cemented Smyl’s legacy. He took an underachieving sub-.500 team all the way to the Stanley Cup final only to lose to the juggernaut New York Islanders.
The following summer, Smyl was named Captain of the Canucks – an honour that he kept until a year before his retirement in 1991.
That season he posted career highs with 38 goals and 50 assists – a team record at the time.
Knee injuries slowed Smyl during the 1985–86 and 1986-1987 season. He was clearly on the downside of his career.
He played his last game on March 16, 1991, against the New York Islanders. After managing 14 points in 45 games, Smyl retired at the end of the 1990-1991 season.
The end of his playing career coincided with the beginning of a 13-year coaching career, serving as an assistant with the Canucks and as head coach with the club’s minor league affiliates: the Syracuse Crunch, Kansas City Blades and Manitoba Moose.
Upon being let go as coach of the Moose, he was re-assigned to the Canucks’ front office where he has served as Director of Player Development and Director of Collegiate Scouting, before being appointed his current role as Senior Advisor on Hockey Operations to General Manager Mike Gillis.