You had only to look at his constant wide-angle grin to know how much Bob McCusker enjoyed his special ‘Tribute Night’ in the Canucks Alumni suite at Rogers Arena on December 22, 2013.
The proof is in the pictures, particularly the ‘family photo of 10’ that included Bob and his wife Marilyn, sons Don, Steve and Bob Jr., daughter-in-laws Isabelle and Anne, as well as granddaughters Liz, Grace and Brooke.
“It was truly a night I’ll never forget,” said the man of the hour. “To be surrounded by family and friends and being honoured by the Alumni was quite a thrill.”
McCusker, born in Elk Point, Alberta but raised in the Saskatoon area, was the second of four legendary members of the Canucks Alumni to be acknowledged with a ‘Tribute Night’ hosted by the BC Hockey Benevolent Association. The first was Ernie Dougherty this past November with the third and fourth – Mickey McDowell and Orland Kurtenbach – scheduled to be honoured at upcoming NHL home games.
McCusker never played an NHL game but made quite a name for himself in the NCAA with Colorado College before turning pro with the Spokane Comets in 1960-61 prior to playing five seasons with the Western League Canucks in the old PNE Forum from 1961-62 through l965-66.
His name still stands in the NCAA record books for most goals scored in the Final Four when Colorado won the national championship in 1956-57. McCusker and linemate Bill (Red) Hay made the all-star team that year and in the Final Four, McCusker scored seven goals in two games.
Upon his retirement from the playing ranks in 1966, McCusker was recruited by Scotty Milne of the Canucks Oldtimers to get involved with the Alumni and he’s been a driving force ever since.
Alumni directors Rick Amann, Bob Murray and Dave Cannon presented McCusker with an 18-carat gold Tissot watch designed by the renowned Swatch Group from Switzerland. Included in the presentation was a cheque in the amount of $5,000 to be donated to a charity of McCusker’s choice. It went to the ALS Society of B.C. in Don McCusker’s honour. Don was diagnosed with ALS, known to many as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in January, 2012.
The BC Hockey Benevolent Association and Canucks Alumni have made major financial contributions to several community initiatives, including Canucks for Kids, Camp Goodtimes and university hockey scholarships.
You can view photos for the night here.