Kirk McLean: Ring of Honour Inductee

The Vancouver Canucks announced today that Kirk McLean will be the second inductee to the team’s Ring of Honour.

McLean’s induction will take place on Wednesday, November 24th during a pre-game ceremony at Rogers Arena prior to Vancouver’s game versus Colorado. The former Canucks goaltender becomes the second Ring of Honour inductee after original franchise captain, Orland Kurtenbach was unveiled as the inaugural inductee.

Kirk McLean played over 10 seasons in a Vancouver Canucks uniform from 1987-88 to 1997-98 setting regular season and playoff franchise records for games played, wins and shutouts.

The Canucks career numbers speak for themselves.

Revered for his contributions in goal during the Canucks 1994 playoff run, McLean posted 15 wins and four shutouts through 24 games, helping lead Vancouver to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

McLean holds the all-time regular season franchise record for games played (516) and wins (211). His career postseason numbers rank first all-time in wins (34), games played (68) and shutouts (6).

McLean also holds franchise leading, single-season playoff records with 15 wins, four shutouts and 1,544 minutes played (1994 playoffs). McLean was twice nominated for the Vezina Trophy as a Vancouver Canuck and represented the club at the 1990 and 1992 NHL All-Star Games.

McLean was originally drafted in 1984 by last night’s opponent, the New Jersey Devils. With other goaltenders like Sean Burke and Chris Terreri in the Devils’ system at the time, McLean had only appeared in four NHL games before Pat Quinn (who, by the way, is one I personally think should be inducted into the Ring of Honour at some point) acquired him and Greg Adams for Patrik Sundstrom and a couple of draft picks in 1987.

It didn’t take him long to get his career going after that. In his first season with the Canucks, he split goaltending duties with King Richard Brodeur. In his second season with the team, he was nominated for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goaltender. In his third season, he led the league in games and minutes played, and appeared in the NHL All-Star Game.

During the 1994 playoff run, McLean was simply brilliant. He recorded 15 wins, which is obviously a franchise record. Twice, he won five games in a row. Twice, he shut out the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round – in back-to-back games to boot. Altogether, he played 1,544 minutes, which was an NHL record until Mikka Kiprusoff played 1,595 minutes in 2004.

But without a doubt, Canucks fans think of “The Save” when they think of Captain Kirk. In Calgary, in overtime, in game 7 of the Canucks’ 1994 first round playoff series against the Flames, he robbed Robert Reichel on a 3-on-1 break and set the stage for Pavel Bure’s eventual game-winner in the second overtime period.

That save helped catapult the Canucks from being a .500 regular season team to Stanley Cup finalists. As noted hockey historian, Joe Pelletier, calls it, it was McLean’s signature moment. (More on Joe’s piece on Captain Kirk here.) For Canucks fans, it’s one moment among many, and on November 24th, we’ll all get a chance to remember them and celebrate Captain Kirk and his accomplishments.

J.J. Guerrero

Founder and Executive Editor of Canucks Hockey Blog. Proud Canadian, hardcore Canucks fan. I would like nothing more than watching the Canucks win the Stanley Cup. Against the Leafs.

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