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Remembering NHL family members lost in 2015

by John Kreiser

The end of the year offers the chance to reflect on the previous 12 months.

For all of the tremendous accomplishments that took place this past year, 2015 was also defined by those we lost, including three legendary Montreal Canadiens and the coach who led the New York Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cups.

Here's a look at some of those in the hockey world who left us during the past year:

Dickie Moore

Dec. 19, 2014 (Age 84)

Moore, a key member of the Montreal Canadiens' dynasty in the late 1950s, was an outstanding puck-handler and passer with a good shot who played left wing with Maurice "Rocket" Richard on the right side and Henri Richard in the middle, forming one of the NHL's most dangerous lines during the 1950s. Moore won back-to-back NHL scoring titles and broke the League record for points in a 70-game season with 96 while repeating in 1958-59. He was a member of six Stanley Cup-winning teams with the Canadiens, helped the first-year St. Louis Blues get to the Final in 1968 and finished his career with 261 goals and 347 assists in 719 NHL games. He also had 46 goals and 64 assists in 135 playoff games. Moore was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1974, and the Canadiens retired his No. 12 (also worn by Yvan Cournoyer, another Hall of Famer) in November 2005. Full obit

Glen Sonmor

Dec. 14, 2015 (Age 86)

Sonmor played 28 games and scored two goals with the New York Rangers in the 1950s, but was better known as the coach who took the Minnesota North Stars to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. The seventh-seeded North Stars won three series before losing to the New York Islanders in five games. He had a 177-161-83 record in three stints as coach of the North Stars, covering parts of seven seasons. Sonmor received the Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to hockey in the United States in 2006. Full obit

Bert Olmstead won the Stanly Cup five times over a Hall-of-Fame career that spanned 14 seasons. (Getty Images)

Bert Olmstead

Nov. 16, 2015 (Age 89)

Olmstead played on five Stanley Cup-winning teams, four with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1950s and the fifth with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1961-62, his final NHL season. He led the League in assists with 48 in 1954-55, and again in 1955-56 with a then-record 56. Olmstead had an eight-point game (four goals, four assists) on Jan. 9, 1954 and finished his NHL career with 181 goals and 421 assists in 848 games, as well as 16 goals and 43 assists in 115 playoff games. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985. Full obit

Jimmy Roberts

Oct. 23, 2015 (Age 75)

Roberts, who played defense and forward, was a five-time Stanley Cup winner with the Montreal Canadiens and helped the St. Louis Blues reach the Final in each of their first three NHL seasons. He had 126 goals and 194 assists in 1,006 NHL games, as well as 20 goals and 16 assists in 153 playoff games. Roberts also coached the Buffalo Sabres and Hartford Whalers for one season each, and he spent nine games as interim coach of the Blues in 1996-97. Full obit

Fleming MacKell

Oct. 19, 2015 (Age 86)

MacKell, a center, began his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1947-48 and was a member of two Stanley Cup-winning teams before being traded to the Boston Bruins in January 1952. He scored 27 goals and was a First-Team All-Star with Boston in 1952-53 and had two more 20-goal seasons before retiring after the 1959-60 season with 149 goals and 220 assists in 665 NHL games. MacKell also had 22 goals and 41 assists in 80 playoff games.

Todd Ewen

Sept. 19, 2015 (Age 49)

Ewen spent 11 seasons as one of the NHL's toughest players during stints with the St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks, finishing his career with 36 goals, 40 assists and 1,911 penalty minutes in 518 games from 1986-87 through 1996-97. After his career, he became involved in coaching youth hockey, eventually moving up to become coach of the Saint Louis University club team. Full obit

Al Arbour

Aug. 28, 2015 (Age 82)

Arbour's 626-game NHL career as a defensive defenseman (and one of the few players to wear glasses on the ice) was vastly overshadowed by his success behind the bench. After spending parts of three seasons coaching the St. Louis Blues, he took over the second-year New York Islanders in 1973 and helped turn them into a dynasty. The Islanders won four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980-83 before losing to the Edmonton Oilers in the 1984 Final. Arbour stepped down in 1986 but returned two years later and coached the Islanders through the 1993-94 season before retiring for good. His 782 victories are second in NHL history, behind only his friend and mentor Scotty Bowman. Full obit

Chico Maki

Aug. 24, 2015 (Age 76)

Maki's NHL career started with a bang; he played one playoff game for the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup-winning team in 1961. Maki never played on another Cup winner, but was a reliable right wing for another 14 seasons, scoring as many as 22 goals (1970-71) and finishing with a plus-44 rating the following season. He helped the Blackhawks reach the Final four times from 1962-73 and finished his career with 143 goals and 292 assists in 841 NHL games, as well as 17 goals and 36 assists in 113 playoff games. Full obit

Bob Fillion

Aug. 13, 2015 (Age 95)

Fillion, a defensive-minded left wing, helped the Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup in 1944 and 1946. He had 42 goals and 61 assists in 327 games during seven NHL seasons, all with the Canadiens, and had seven goals and four assists in 33 playoff games. Fillion was briefly the oldest living former Canadiens player after former teammate Elmer Lach died in April at age 97. Full obit

Gus Mortson

Aug. 8, 2015 (Age 90)

A defenseman who earned the nickname "Old Hardrock" for his physical style of play, Mortson spent 13 seasons in the NHL and was a member of four Stanley Cup-winning teams with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1947-51. He and defenseman Jim Thomson formed the Maple Leafs' "Gold Dust Twins." Mortson played in eight All-Star Games from 1947-56, was a First-Team All-Star in 1950 and finished his career with 46 goals and 152 assists in 797 NHL games with the Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings. He also had five goals and eight assists in 54 playoff games. Full obit

Leo Reise Jr.

July 26, 2015 (Age 93)

Reise started his career by playing parts of two seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and ended it with two seasons on the New York Rangers. His prime came in the six seasons in between with the Detroit Red Wings, when he played 340 games, was a four-time All-Star and a member of Stanley Cup championship teams in 1951 and '52. Reise, whose father also played in the NHL, had 28 goals and 81 assists in 494 NHL games, as well as eight goals and five assists in 52 playoff games.

Wally Stanowski

June 28, 2015 (Age 96)

Stanowski was known as "The Whirling Dervish" for his skating ability and offensive skills as one of the NHL's best puck-carrying defensemen. He joined the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1939-40 and was a First-Team All-Star the following season. World War II interrupted his career; he didn't return to Toronto until late in the 1944-45 season, stayed with the Maple Leafs through 1947-48, then played three more seasons for the New York Rangers. Stanowski was part of four Stanley Cup-winning teams in Toronto and finished his career with 23 goals and 88 assists in 428 NHL games; he also scored three goals and had 14 assists in 60 playoff games. Full obit

Marcel Pronovost during his stint as coach of the Buffalo Sabres in 1977. (Denis Brodeur/NHLI)

Marcel Pronovost

April 26, 2015 (Age 84)

Pronovost spent 20 seasons (15 with the Detroit Red Wings, five with the Toronto Maple Leafs) as one of the NHL's most reliable defensemen. He finished with 88 goals and 345 points in 1,206 games, was a two-time First-Team All-Star and played in 11 All-Star games. Pronovost was a member of four Stanley Cup-winning teams with the Red Wings from 1950-55 (the first one came before he had played a regular-season game), then helped the Maple Leafs win their last Cup in 1967. He spent parts of two seasons as coach for the Buffalo Sabres, and then earned three more Cup rings as a scout for the New Jersey Devils. Full obit

Mark Reeds

April 14, 2015 (Age 55)

Reeds was an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators at the time of his death. He spent parts of eight seasons in the NHL as a player, finishing with 45 goals and 114 assists in 365 games with the St. Louis Blues and Hartford Whalers; he also had eight goals and nine assists in 53 Stanley Cup Playoff games, all with the Blues. After retiring as a player in 1989, he went into coaching; he led Owen Sound to the Memorial Cup tournament in 2011, when he was named coach of the year in the Ontario Hockey League, then joined the Senators as an assistant. Full obit

Dollard St. Laurent

April 6, 2015 (Age 85)

A defenseman known for his punishing hip checks, St. Laurent was a member of four Stanley Cup-winning teams with the Montreal Canadiens and another with the Chicago Blackhawks, for whom he served as a steadying influence on the blue line. He played in the NHL All-Star game five times. St. Laurent finished with 29 goals and 133 assists in 652 NHL games and had two goals and 22 assists in 92 playoff games.

Elmer Lach

April 4, 2015 (Age 97)

Lach was the center of the Montreal Canadiens' famed "Punch Line," playing between Toe Blake and Maurice Richard. He was a two-time NHL scoring champion, won the Hart Trophy as MVP in 1945 (when he finished with 80 points in a 50-game season) and was a three-time First-Team All-Star. Lach played on three Stanley Cup-winning teams, scoring the Cup-winning goal in 1953, and was the NHL's all-time leading scorer with 623 points (including 215 goals) when he retired after the 1953-54 season. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966 and was a prominent figure at Canadiens games and events for years. His No. 16, already retired in honor of Henri Richard, was raised to the rafters of Bell Centre in Lach's honor as part of the team's centennial celebration in 2009. Full obit

Steve Montador played 571 regular season NHL games with six teams. He reached the 2004 Stanley Cup Final with the Calgary Flames. (Getty Images)

Steve Montador

Feb. 15, 2015 (Age 35)

The rugged defenseman was undrafted coming out of junior hockey but signed with the Calgary Flames in 2000 and helped the Saint John Flames of the American Hockey League win the Calder Cup in his rookie season. Three years later, he was part of the Flames' team that went to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2004. Montador finished with 33 goals and 98 assists in 571 NHL games, as well as three goals and eight points in 43 playoff games, before ending his career with the Chicago Blackhawks, his sixth team, after the 2011-12 season. Full obit

Claude Ruel

Feb. 9, 2015 (Age 76)

Ruel's playing career was derailed by an eye injury, but he had a long career with the Montreal Canadiens in coaching, scouting and player development. Ruel was Montreal's director of scouting when he was tapped to succeed Toe Blake as coach and guided the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup in 1969. But Montreal missed the playoffs in 1970 and he resigned 23 games into the following season. Ruel returned to the Canadiens in 1975 and spent most of the next two decades as their director of player development, helping to develop many of the players who formed Montreal's dynasty in the late 1970s. He was also part of the 1986 and 1993 Cup-winning teams. Full obit

Vic Howe

Jan. 31, 2015 (Age 85)

Gordie Howe's younger brother spent most of his hockey career in the minor leagues throughout North America and Europe, but played parts of three seasons with the New York Rangers. Howe scored three goals and finished with seven points in 33 NHL games. Full obit

J.P. Parise

Jan. 7, 2015 (Age 73)

The father of current NHL star Zach Parise was one of hockey's most rugged and reliable cornermen throughout his 17 NHL seasons, most of which were spent with the Minnesota North Stars. He scored 238 goals and had 356 assists in 890 NHL games, as well as 27 goals and 31 assists in 86 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Parise was also a member of Canada's team at the Summit Series in 1972. After his playing career, Parise became director of hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary's, a prep school in Faribault, Minn., where Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews were among those who learned from him. Full obit

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