The Dwight McMillan for the Hockey Hall of Fame campaign?
You might want to be sitting down when we tell you this: Limp Bizkit was right. When a legendary hockey coach like Dwight McMillan can find himself out of a job and in the middle of a public pissing match with his former employer – in mid-season, no less – it most definitely is all about the he-said-she-said bulls–t.
For what it’s worth, it doesn’t look like either side is being entirely forthright in their public statements. The Weyburn Red Wings’ board may have spun McMillan’s offer of resignation, after he’d already been fired, for their own PR gains. CTV reported McMillan left the (not-entirely-true) impression his old-school coaching tactics were the main source of his conflict with the board. (Ask around about the events of this past summer.) But in the bigger picture an interesting question came up: Should Dwight McMillan be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?
The case goes something like this: Six SJHL titles, two national junior A championships, over 1,000 wins (one of only four (?) coaches in hockey history to do so), and some national recognition from the CBC a few years back. The counterpoint? One of those coaches – John Brophy – won 1,000 games at the professional level and is still not in the HHOF, while Scotty Bowman and Brian Kilrea – who are in the HHOF – achieved 1,000 wins at higher levels of the game. You could argue that McMillan’s career, simply for being at the junior A level, did not equal the success of the other three and does not carry the same recognition across the hockey world.
Maybe a better comparable to McMillan is Terry Simpson, also not in the Hall of Fame. Simpson coached the Prince Albert Raiders to seven straight SJHL titles, four national junior A championships, a Memorial Cup three years after P.A. made the improbable leap to major junior, and 368 games in the NHL (including an even-more improbable division title with the New York Islanders).
If the HHOF has room for media, trainers, Scott Stevens and Joe Mullen, surely it can make room for the two biggest icons in junior A history. But as long as Simpson remains out of the Hockey Hall of Fame, it seems likely McMillan will remain on the sidelines as well.