Former Bomber defenceman McIlhargey dies after cancer battle

Defenceman and coach Jack McIlhargey was never flashy on the ice or behind the bench, but always got the job done. The former Flin Flon Bomber died July 18 after a long bout of cancer.

McIlhargey played for the Bombers in the 1971-72 season, joining the club in a mid-season trade and playing along future NHLers Blaine Stoughton, Ray Maluta and Dennis Polonich.

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In 33 games, the player often called “Bucky” by his teammates only scored one goal but added a whopping 142 penalty minutes.

After leaving Flin Flon, McIlhargey had a journeyman pro career, suiting up in three professional leagues and with three NHL teams - notably with the Bobby Clarke- and Reggie Leach-led Philadelphia Flyers, with the Vancouver Canucks and with former teammate Stoughton and the Hartford Whalers.

Not long after he hung up his skates, McIlhargey began a lengthy career as a coach, becoming a long-time assistant coach with the Canucks and Flyers and a head coach with several minor league teams.

From 2011 until his death, McIlhargey was still employed with the Flyers as an amateur scout.

"Bucky was a good man. Good sense of humor, down to earth and a good hockey guy, too. Told funny stories and was fun to be around. I played against him, and he was a tough customer. Only the top heavyweights would tangle with him," said Flyers alumni association president Brad Marsh in a statement released by the team.

McIlhargey’s photo is featured in the Bomber Hall of Fame wall inside the Whitney Forum and was inducted into the British Columbia Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.

McIlhargey was 68 years old.

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