Peter McNab. Maxy. Where do we even start?
Peter was born in 1952 in Vancouver, British Columbia. He moved to the United States when he was 14 years old, where his dad, Max McNab, coached the Western Hockey League San Diego Gulls. This is where his initial love of hockey began.
However, when he started his collegiate career at the University of Denver, he played baseball on a scholarship. McNab then pivoted to what would be his all-time passion: hockey. He made the Pioneers side and played for three years from 1970-1973. During his time in Denver, McNab recorded the 10th-best point record in DU history with 78 goals and 92 assists, averaging 1.61 points per game.
In 1972-73, he was part of the Denver team which finished runner-up in the NCAA Tournament, making the WCHA First Team as well. Peter was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1972 NHL Draft, going 85th overall. While he moved on from Denver to go to the NHL, it would not be his last connection with Denver hockey.
He split time with the Sabres and Cincinnati Swords of the AHL in the ‘72-73 season, scoring his first NHL goal against the Minnesota North Stars. McNab made the 1975 Stanley Cup Final with the Sabres but lost out to the Philadelphia Flyers. It would be his last action with Buffalo as he went to the Boston Bruins, where he had the best times of his playing career. For nine seasons, he played with the ‘B’ on his chest scoring 263 goals and dishing 283 assists. He still remains in the top 10 in goals, points, and playoff scoring in Bruins history.
Perhaps Peter’s most infamous moment in NHL history was being a part of a fight that spilled into the stands. On December 23, 1979, his Bruins were at Madison Square Garden playing the New York Rangers. McNab entered the stands and proceeded to fight the fans, grabbing one's shoe and using it as his own weapon.
McNab was the player who wouldn't typically fight but instead would help pick up the pieces after a fight. This was very different from his usual persona both on and off the ice - more on it later.
After a long time in Boston, he would be traded to the Vancouver Canucks for only two seasons with 24 goals and 31 assists. He finally spent the final two years of his playing career with the New Jersey Devils. Funny enough, he ended up with his dad once again, who was the GM at the time. He continued with the Devils in the TV booth after the 1987 season, winning an Emmy Award for his work during his time there through 1995.
In 1995-96, Peter McNab and the Colorado Avalanche linked for the first time.
He moved with the Avs from Quebec to be in the TV booth. Maxy, as he was called, was met with new faces and new people in a new environment. Peter took them all under the wing, playing such an influential part in Colorado becoming a big hockey state, and winning the first Stanley Cup in ‘95-96.
McNab only influenced the entire KSE family further. He worked with so many great names. Mike Haynes, Lauren Gardner, Lauren Jbara, Vic Lombardi, Marc Moser, Conor McGahey, Kyle Keefe, and so many more behind the camera. Even those in front of the camera, McNab was loved by so many.
This included the immense respect and compassion from the players. Joe Sakic adored McNab being a part of the two Cups in 1996 and 2001 as a player. Peter’s human love and ability to connect with the players through his touch - not just his hockey resume - and you could even see it during the final months of his life watching the 2022 Avalanche’s Stanley Cup win.
Peter was the very best when it came to connections and human interactions. While not everybody knew him personally, and he kept his private life private, he was one you could always reach out to. We have seen this from the reactions of players and media personnel from across the industry reacting to this sad manner. It’s so hard to pick just a few to highlight from the hundreds of outpouring responses to this wonderful human being.
This video feels so sweet and somber now. Happy that McNab got to see his Avs in the Cup in person.— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) November 6, 2022
He’ll never be forgotten. Thank you for everything, Peter. pic.twitter.com/lNLjt1BVZ7
This photo perfectly encapsulates the joy that Peter McNab had for life and for hockey.— Romi Bean (@Romi_Bean) November 6, 2022
He shared this light with every one. Every time I was lucky enough to have a conversation with him, I left full of joy and having learned something about the game.
RIP Pete ️
: @DU_Hockey pic.twitter.com/EcdygZIDvO
The world lost an outstanding person. I sat next to Peter on the plane after #GoAvsGo cup. He didn’t want to touch the cup, after discussion he finally did, the smile is something I will remember forever. He asked about my family every game. Thank you for the stories and memories pic.twitter.com/C4HOKbuaBw— Drennen Schulz (@DrenSchulz) November 7, 2022
As selfish as this sounds, I wish I’d been able to meet Peter. I think anybody would say such a phrase now if they didn’t know him. While Mile High Hockey may not have the credentials to be in the building for every Avs game or travel with the team, I know Peter would have reached out in some sort of way - or vice versa - to help one another walk through the crazy hockey media world if we had been - not just for me, but for all of us here at MHH.
While I may not have known Peter personally, it feels like we all did because of his storytelling, love for the game, and love for all of the people involved.
He felt like a friend to us through our TV screens. Simply because of the great man he was.
Thank you for everything, Peter. You’ll be dearly missed. Let’s go get a Cup for him.