Blair MacDonald

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Blair MacDonald
Born (1953-11-17) November 17, 1953 (age 63)
Cornwall, ON, CAN
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Right
Played for Edmonton Oilers
Vancouver Canucks
Indianapolis Racers (WHA)
NHL Draft 86th overall, 1973
Los Angeles Kings
WHA Draft 30th overall, 1973
Alberta Oilers
Playing career 1973–1983

Blair Neil Joseph "B. J." MacDonald (born November 17, 1953 in Cornwall, Ontario) is a retired professional ice hockey player who played in the National Hockey League and World Hockey Association between 1973 and 1983. He is best known for his time with the Edmonton Oilers, the club where he spent the majority of his career and where he served as one of Wayne Gretzky's first linemates at the start of Gretzky's NHL career.

Playing career[edit]

WHA[edit]

After a stellar final year of junior hockey with the Cornwall Royals of the QMJHL in which he scored 63 goals in 64 games, MacDonald was selected 86th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft. However, he was also selected 30th overall by the Edmonton Oilers of the rival World Hockey Association in their draft, and chose to forego the NHL to sign in Edmonton.

MacDonald had a solid rookie professional season in 1973–74, finishing the year with 21 goals and 45 points in 78 games, and posted nearly identical numbers 1974–75 with 22 goals and 46 points. After a sluggish start to the 1975–76 campaign, he was dealt to the Indianapolis Racers, where he rediscovered his scoring touch and finished the year with a career-high 26 goals. In 1976–77, he blossomed into a top player for the Racers, leading the team with 34 goals and finishing with 64 points. He then added 15 points in nine games in the playoffs.

For 1977–78, MacDonald was traded back to the Oilers, where he enjoyed another fine season with 34 goals and 68 points. Just after the start of the 1978–79 season, Edmonton traded for 17-year-old wunderkind Wayne Gretzky, who dominated the sport for the next two decades. As the Oilers' top right winger and a natural sniper, MacDonald became one of Gretzky's regular wingers, along with Brett Callighen, and finished the year with 34 goals and a career-high 71 points.

NHL[edit]

For the 1979–80 campaign, Edmonton joined the NHL as part of the WHA merger, and MacDonald would have the finest year of his career. Riding the playmaking wizardry of Gretzky, he would finish the season with 46 goals and 48 assists for 94 points, a total good for 10th in the league. He was also selected to represent the Oilers at the 1980 NHL All-Star Game. With just 6 penalty minutes all season, he finished 4th in balloting for the Lady Byng Trophy as the league's most gentlemanly player, an award ultimately won by Gretzky.

MacDonald continued to produce well in 1980–81, but ultimately lost his place on the Oilers' top line with the development of talented young players like Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, and especially Finnish star Jari Kurri, who would form the most lethal scoring duo in the league with Gretzky for most of the 1980s. At the trade deadline, MacDonald was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks, where he responded well with 14 points in 12 games to finish the season with 24 goals and 57 points in 63 games between Edmonton and Vancouver.

Despite scoring fairly regularly when in the Canucks' lineup, MacDonald would have a tumultuous tenure in Vancouver where his lack of grit and defensive play failed to endear him to the coaching staff. He scored 18 goals and 33 points in 59 games for the Canucks in 1981–82, but was briefly assigned to the minors for the first time in his career and then barely played in the playoffs as the Canucks reached the Stanley Cup Finals. He would appear in only 17 games for the Canucks in 1982–83, spending most of the season in the minors before being released at the end of the year.

After being released by the Canucks, MacDonald spent three more seasons playing in Austria before retiring in 1986. He finished his career with 91 goals and 100 assists for 191 points in 219 NHL games, and added 171 goals and 165 assists for 336 points in 476 games in the WHA.

Following the conclusion of his playing career, MacDonald accepted a head coaching job in Austria, and has spent most of his time since coaching in both Europe and North America. In 1988–89, he was named the International Hockey League Coach of the Year after leading the Muskegon Lumberjacks to a 57–18–7 record and the league championship.

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1970–71 Cornwall Royals QMJHL 51 24 14 38 6
1971–72 Cornwall Royals QMJHL 61 45 45 90 36 16 10 5 15 10
1971–72 Cornwall Royals M-Cup 3 0 1 1 4
1972–73 Cornwall Royals QMJHL 64 63 39 102 44 16 14 14 28 10
1973–74 Edmonton Oilers WHA 78 21 24 45 34 5 4 2 6 2
1974–75 Edmonton Oilers WHA 72 22 24 46 14
1975–76 Edmonton Oilers WHA 29 7 5 12 8
1975–76 Indianapolis Racers WHA 56 19 11 30 14 7 0 0 0 0
1976–77 Indianapolis Racers WHA 81 34 30 64 28 13 7 8 15 4
1977–78 Edmonton Oilers WHA 80 34 34 68 11 5 1 1 2 0
1978–79 Edmonton Oilers WHA 80 34 37 71 44 13 8 10 18 6
1979–80 Edmonton Oilers NHL 80 46 48 94 6 3 0 3 3 0
1980–81 Edmonton Oilers NHL 51 19 24 43 27
1980–81 Vancouver Canucks NHL 12 5 9 14 10 3 0 1 1 2
1981–82 Dallas Black Hawks CHL 3 1 1 2 0
1981–82 Vancouver Canucks NHL 59 18 15 33 20 3 0 0 0 0
1982–83 Vancouver Canucks NHL 17 3 4 7 2 2 0 2 2 0
1982–83 Fredericton Express AHL 60 29 37 66 20 7 2 3 5 2
1983–84 WAT Stadlau AUS 26 30 32 62
1983–84 Montana Magic CHL 4 1 0 1 0
1984–85 WAT Stadlau AUS 34 37 29 66 30
1985–86 EV Innsbruck AUS 23 20 18 38 8 10 9 11 20
WHA totals 476 171 165 336 153 39 20 21 41 12
NHL totals 219 91 100 191 65 11 0 6 6 2
AUS totals 83 87 79 166 10 9 11 20

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ron Chipperfield
Edmonton Oilers captain
1980–81
Succeeded by
Lee Fogolin