Mike McEwen was a talented offensive defenceman who played over 700 NHL games in the 1970s and '80s. He was a fine passer with an accurate shot but often clashed with coaches since he was somewhat of a free spirit.
Born in Hornepayne, Ontario, McEwen was chosen 42nd overall by the New York Rangers in the 1976 Amateur Draft after a stellar junior career with the Toronto Marlboros. The gifted youngster accumulated 181 points in three years and helped the team win the Memorial Cup in 1975.
During the 1976-77 season, McEwen impressed as a rookie with 43 points though his defensive zone coverage was spotty. Two years later, he scored a personal-high 20 goals and helped the Blueshirts reach the Stanley Cup finals. The next year, he was part of the package sent to the Colorado Rockies for star blueliner Barry Beck. McEwen provided an instant upgrade to the club's mobility on defense but he clashed repeatedly with coach Don Cherry who disliked his attitude.
McEwen was granted a release from the Rockies' tumultuous situation when he was sent to the New York Islanders in the deal that involved popular netminder Chico Resch. He provided offensive savvy and mobility on the blueline and was part of three straight Stanley Cup wins on Long Island. Through the rest of his career, he was an offensive sparkplug on the L.A. Kings, Washington Capitals , Detroit Red Wings, and Hartford Whalers. In 1986, he was a factor when the club came within a game of reaching the semi-finals for the first time in franchise history. McEwen retired in 1988 after playing with Hartford and the Sierre club of Switzerland.