Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Keith McCreary
Keith McCreary underwent a lengthy apprenticeship as a junior and minor-leaguer before his natural sense of leadership and strong defensive play would earn him a permanent birth at the NHL level.

He started out with the Peterborough Petes of the OHA in 1956-57. But after one season he dropped down to Junior B for a year in his native Sundridge. He then bubbled to the top again with the Hull-Ottawa Jr. Canadiens for a short time before turning pro in 1960 with the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens of the EPHL.

As property of the Montreal Canadiens, McCreary spent a total of seven years of ups and downs in the system, not unlike a bucket in a well. As he added more layers of seasoning to his game, he put in stints with the Montreal Canadiens, the Hershey Bears, and the Cleveland Barons.

It was not until NHL expansion in 1967, however, that his services were deemed worthy of the NHL on a nightly basis. He joined the newly-formed Pittsburgh Penguins and made an immediate impact as a hard-working team leader and captain. During his five seasons with the club, he established himself as one of the better defensive left wingers in the league. And, as the Pens struggled in the early years, McCreary and his mates had their hands full just trying to keep pucks out of their own net.

In 1972, he was claimed by the expansion Atlanta Flames as their designated team captain. As in Pittsburgh, the veteran winger provided essential leadership and steady play that served to stabilize the new unit. In all, he lasted three seasons in Georgia before overtures came from the Calgary Cowboys of the WHA.

In 1975, McCreary headed West to attend the Cowboys training camp. But before the regular season had started, he decided that the club was insufficiently organized. Rather than risk a season of chaos, he elected to retire for good.

McCreary joined the NHL Alumni Association following his playing career and was was the Association's Chairman when he eventually lost his battle to cancer on December 9, 2003. Keith McCreary was 63.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1956-57 Peterborough Petes OHA-Jr. 22 0 1 1 0
1957-58 Sundridge Beavers OHA-B
1958-59 Hull-Ottawa Canadiens Exhib.
1958-59 Hull-Ottawa Canadiens EOHL 3 1 0 1 0
1958-59 Hull-Ottawa Canadiens M-Cup 7 1 4 5 2
1959-60 Hull-Ottawa Canadiens Exhib.
1959-60 Hull-Ottawa Canadiens EPHL 5 0 0 0 0
1959-60 Brockville Jr. Canadiens M-Cup 13 5 9 14 23
1960-61 Hull-Ottawa Canadiens EPHL 61 19 21 40 35 14 4 2 6 15
1961-62 Hull-Ottawa Canadiens EPHL 64 30 36 66 48 12 5 8 13 2
1961-62 Montreal Canadiens NHL 1 0 0 0 0
1962-63 Hull-Ottawa Canadiens EPHL 69 27 34 61 44 3 1 1 2 0
1963-64 Hershey Bears AHL 66 25 19 44 21 6 2 4 6 2
1964-65 Montreal Canadiens NHL 9 0 3 3 4
1964-65 Hershey Bears AHL 46 16 18 34 36 14 0 7 7 24
1965-66 Cleveland Barons AHL 66 18 24 42 42 12 5 4 9 8
1966-67 Cleveland Barons AHL 70 28 29 57 50 5 1 2 3 0
1967-68 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 70 14 12 26 44 -3
1968-69 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 70 25 23 48 42 -23
1969-70 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 60 18 8 26 67 -6 10 0 4 4 4
1970-71 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 59 21 12 33 24 +7
1971-72 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 33 4 4 8 22 -10 1 0 0 0 2
1972-73 Atlanta Flames NHL 77 20 21 41 21 -22
1973-74 Atlanta Flames NHL 76 18 19 37 62 -6 4 0 0 0 0
1974-75 Atlanta Flames NHL 78 11 10 21 8 +12
NHL Totals 532 131 112 243 294 16 0 4 4 6


Brother of Bill
EPHL First All-Star Team (1962)
EPHL Second All-Star Team (1963)
Claimed by Pittsburgh from Montreal in Expansion Draft, June 6, 1967. Claimed by Atlanta from Pittsburgh in Expansion Draft, June 6, 1972.