Rick MacLeish, member of the Flyers Stanley Cup championship teams in 1974 and 1975, passed away on Monday at the age of 66.
“With the passing of Rick MacLeish, the Flyers have lost one of their legends,” said Flyers President, Paul Holmgren. “A good father, grandfather, teammate and friend, Rick will be missed by all who were fortunate to come and know him over the years. His happy and friendly demeanor was front and center everywhere Rick went. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Rick’s wife, Charlene, his daughters, Danielle and Brianna along with his grandchildren. May he rest in peace.”
MacLeish spent parts of 12 seasons with the Flyers, including 11 straight from 1970-71 to 1980-81. He accumulated 697 points as a Flyer, which ranks fourth all time in franchise history, while also recording 328 goals (6th in Flyers history) and 369 assists (T-5th in Flyers history) in 741 games (T-6th in Flyers history).
MacLeish also ranks second in franchise history with 12 regular season hat tricks, only behind Tim Kerr’s mark of 17.
In 1972-73, his first full season in the NHL, he became the Flyers first 50-goal scorer and just the eighth player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a single season. To this day, he is one of six Flyers to ever reach the 50-goal mark (Leach, Barber, Kerr, Recchi & LeClair).
MacLeish was also a standout in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He led the Flyers in both goals and points in both of their Stanley Cup Championship runs in 1974 (13 goals & 22 points) and 1975 (11 goals and 20 points).
He ranks first all-time in Flyers history with 10 game-winning goals, and scored the game-winning goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in a 1-0 victory against the Boston Bruins to claim the Flyers first Stanley Cup title in 1974.
MacLeish is tied (with Bill Barber) for the most playoff goals scored in club history with 53, and ranks fourth all-time in Flyers history with 105 points in 108 playoff games.
MacLeish was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame in its third year of existence on Mar. 22, 1990.
WORDS FROM THOSE WHO KNEW RICK MacLEISH…
“Ricky was the most talented player the Flyers had during the 1970s. Life after hockey wasn’t fair to Ricky. He left us far too soon.”
“Ricky was a special player for the Flyers. He always came up with scoring the big goals and he was instrumental helping us win two Stanley Cups. He will be greatly missed.”
“Ricky, Ross (Lonsberry) and I played on a line together for 5-6 years. I’ll tell you what, he was probably the fastest player on the ice. As far as a wrist shot is concerned, there was no one better at getting that shot away and accurate. Ross and I would talk and say ‘let’s just give Ricky the puck and he’ll put it in.’ If you look at the amount of goals he scored, well, that’s why we kept giving him the puck. Ross and I had cement hands so we’d pass the puck to him. The Flyers could have a mediocre game but because of his skills as a player and the athlete that he was, he could carry us. He was that gifted. I always felt that during the years he played he never got the recognition that he properly deserved. He was that good. It saddens me that he was such a young man and is no longer with us. That really hurts.”
“Rick was probably the most gifted, natural center-man that the Flyers have ever had. He was a tough kid who skated and worked hard. Although he played in the shadow of Clarkie he was every bit as good as Clarkie. Clarkie was more of a natural leader where Rick was just quiet and simply went out there and played his heart out. He was a great guy and it is very sad that we had to lose him at such an early age.”
“I would say that Rick MacLeish was probably one of the most naturally skilled players that the Flyers have ever had in their history of 50 years. I’d put him up there with Giroux, Lindros and Forsberg in terms of natural skill. He was a great player and we’ll certainly miss him.”