Everywhere you go in the NHL, it seems somebody knows a McNab.
Maybe Max McNab, the retired patriarch of the family, played against an old-timer now serving as a scout for a NHL team. More than likely, he probably signed at least one of the veteran players playing in that night's game.
If not Max, who spent 50 years in hockey, it is a safe bet that someone knows one of his two sons involved in the game. Peter, the oldest at 50, had an All-Star playing career before becoming a television analyst, presently broadcasting Colorado Avalanche games. David, at 46, never progressed past the college level as a player, but has served at every front-office level in the NHL since his playing career ended. Today, he is the assistant general manager of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
Max's third son, Michael, branched away from the family passion for ice hockey to chase an acting career.
"Just talking with people all over, when I say my name, I don't know how many people ask me if I am related to Max or Peter," says David. "They all make sure that I promise to tell Max that they said hi.
"I don't probably realize the full impact that my family has had on the game, but I think I am starting to."
It may be impossible to comprehend the impact the McNabs have had on the sport, but it is safe to say that impact has touched every corner of the North American continent. Washington, Buffalo, Boston and New Jersey in the East to Vancouver, San Diego, Anaheim and San Francisco in the West, to Denver, Omaha, Neb. to Indianapolis, Ind., in the continent's interior have all felt the McNab influence.
Even tiny Watson, Saskatchewan has been touched. Hard against Big Quill Lake, between Regina and Saskatoon, Watson is the hometown of Max McNab. Boasting a population of 850, the town still reveres its first NHL product. Later, Ross Lonsberry became the second NHL product to graduate from that farming community.
"When I go home and we see the park, it still amazes my wife and her family that there is a park there named for my dad," says David.
Dan Loehr, a lifelong resident of Watson, says it was a no-brainer to name the park after Max.
"Hockey was so important here and still is," Loehr said. "And, Max was the first NHL player from here, so it seemed a natural to name the park after him. He played his junior hockey here in Humboldt and people still remember that."
Max McNab's career roamed far and wide from tiny Watson. He played two years with the Detroit Red Wings, winning a Stanley Cup in 1950, before a serious back injury halted his playing career.
After that, he became a hockey hobo, criss-crossing the continent to take coaching positions and front-office jobs at both the minor-league and NHL level as he spread his love for the game in each stop.