Marc Crawford was a 4th-round selection, 70th overall, by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft but he has no doubt become a bigger household name for his exploits as an NHL coach.
Crawford played three years with the Cornwall Royals of the QMJHL and was a member of two Memorial Cup winning teams along with other such notables as Dale Hawerchuk, Scott Arniel, Dan Daoust, and Corrado Micalef. In his final year with Cornwall, Crawford scored 42 goals and 57 assists for 99 points while accumulating 242 minutes in penalties.
Crawford played his entire six-year NHL career with the Canucks, recording 19 goals and 31 assists in 176 games. His greatest thrill as a player was reaching the Stanley Cup finals in his rookie year, in 1982, where the Cinderella Canucks came up just short of their goal, dropping the championship to the powerful New York Islanders.
After retiring from pro hockey in 1989 as a member of the IHL's Milwaukee Admirals, Crawford immediately looked toward a career in coaching. For two years he returned to his former junior team, coaching the Cornwall Royals, who had since switched to the Ontario Hockey League. Despite being under .500 in each of those two years, the Toronto Maple Leafs liked his coaching style and decided to groom him to be their future coach. Crawford was given the job as head coach of the St. John's Maple Leafs in 1991, where he remained for three seasons. It appeared that he was in line to take over the Leafs' coaching post but he wound up coaching the Quebec Nordiques in the shortened 1994-95 season and went on to win the Jack Adams coach of the year award, the first time a rookie coach had turned the trick since the award's inception back in 1974.
The Quebec franchise was then sold by majority owner Marcel Aubut and the club moved the following year to Denver, Colorado and were renamed the Avalanche. Crawford, with such on-ice stars as Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy, and Peter Forsberg, skated all the way to the Stanley Cup championship, beating the Florida Panthers in the finals. During that playoff run, the Avalanche won 16 while losing just five.
It was expected the Avalanche would defend their title the following year, but they were ousted by their bitter rivals, the Detroit Red Wings, who went on to win the first of their two successive championships in 1997. The Avalanche posted strong seasons in each of Crawford's three years at the helm, but early success had put added pressure on the team to win. Soon, Crawford was out of Denver and signed with the Vancouver Canucks, the team that drafted him as a player 18 years earlier. He coached the Canucks only as far as the Conference Semifinals in his 7 years with the organization. Newly hired General Manager Dave Nonis relieved Marc Crawford of his duties on April 25, 2006 after the team failed to qualify for the playoffs in 2005-06 for the first time since 1999-00. Crawford was hired by the Los Angeles Kings in on May 22, 2006.
As for international hockey, Crawford was an assistant coach of Canada's silver medal winning team at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and also coached the 1998 Canadian Olympic team.