George McPhee

Last updated
George McPhee
Born (1958-07-02) July 2, 1958 (age 63)
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
Position Forward
Shot Right
Played for New York Rangers
New Jersey Devils
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 19821989

George McPhee (born July 2, 1958) is a Canadian ice hockey executive currently serving as the president of hockey operations for the Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League (NHL). [1] McPhee is the former general manager of the Washington Capitals and has also served as alternate governor, vice president and special assistant to the general manager of the New York Islanders. Since September 1, 2019, he is the former general manager of the Vegas Golden Knights and will now focus solely on his role as president of hockey operations. [2] [3]


Before becoming an executive, McPhee was also a professional ice hockey Forward. Although he was not drafted, he won the Hobey Baker Award in 1982 as the best NCAA men's ice hockey player, and played for the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils.

Early life

Though born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, McPhee spent most of the first two years of his life in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, where his father and grandparents were from. [4] [5]

Playing career

Prior to his career in management, McPhee was a prominent college hockey player at Bowling Green State University for the Falcons ice hockey team. He was the recipient of the 1982 Hobey Baker Award (given to college hockey's top player), was chosen as a First-Team All-Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) selection in 1982, Second-Team All-CCHA honors in 1979 and 1981 and was the CCHA's Rookie of the Year in 1979. After leaving Bowling Green, he won the 1983–84 Central Hockey League championship (the Adams Cup) as a member of the Tulsa Oilers team coached by Tom Webster. [6]

McPhee began his NHL career in the 1983 Stanley Cup playoffs for the New York Rangers. In those playoffs, he and Ray Cote of the Edmonton Oilers became the first players to score three goals in a single Stanley Cup playoffs prior to playing a regular season NHL game. [7] McPhee ultimately had a seven-year career in the NHL, playing for the Rangers and New Jersey Devils.

Management career

Vancouver Canucks

In 1992, McPhee assumed his first major NHL management position, starting as vice president and director of hockey operations (as well as alternate governor) for the Vancouver Canucks, assisting then-general manager Pat Quinn. With McPhee, the team made the playoffs four times, won a division championship, and played in the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals, which they lost to the New York Rangers.

Washington Capitals

When McPhee joined the Washington Capitals in 1997, the team was looking to turn around its long storied history of being a top regular season performer that disappointed in the playoffs. His tenure began well as he engineered the club's first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals appearance in his first season, which the Capitals lost to the Detroit Red Wings. The team played well under the general management of McPhee, winning seven Southeast Division championships (1999–2000, 2000–01, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11 and 2012–13), eight 40-or-more win seasons (1997–98, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, and 2011–12) and a franchise-record 121-point season (2009–10).

On September 25, 1999, McPhee, angry at what he perceived to be dirty play by the Chicago Blackhawks, punched then Blackhawks head coach Lorne Molleken outside the Chicago locker room after their teams' exhibition game. Molleken sustained injuries to his head and in response, Blackhawks players and team aides jumped McPhee, leaving him with a torn suit. On October 1, 1999, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman suspended McPhee for one month without pay and fined him $20,000. [8]

Throughout the 2003–04 season, McPhee and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis opted to dump salary on the Capitals' roster and focus on youth. In a "fire sale", the Capitals traded Sergei Gonchar, Jaromír Jágr, Peter Bondra, Michael Nylander, Mike Grier, Robert Lang and captain Steve Konowalchuk that season. McPhee began rebuilding the team by selecting Russian phenom Alexander Ovechkin with the first overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft; Ovechkin would live with McPhee's family as a rookie during the 2005–06 season. [9]

The 2007–08 season would prove hopeful for McPhee, as the Capitals appeared poised to turn the corner in their development. However, after the Capitals began the season with a 6–14–1 record, McPhee fired head coach Hanlon on November 22 and replaced him with Bruce Boudreau, the head coach of the Capitals' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hershey Bears. McPhee's change worked and the 2007–08 season would end with an unprecedented comeback and an unexpected Southeast Division championship. McPhee's trade deadline acquisitions of veterans Sergei Fedorov, Matt Cooke and Cristobal Huet all played large roles in leading the Capitals to their third Southeast Division title.

In 2013, McPhee traded Swedish winger Filip Forsberg to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. Forsberg was the Capitals' first-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, selected 11th overall. [10]

In 2014, McPhee's tenure in Washington ended when the Capitals declined to renew his contract. He was succeeded by Brian MacLellan, a childhood friend and teammate from Guelph, Ontario, and a college teammate at Bowling Green. [9]

New York Islanders

On September 23, 2015, it was formally announced that McPhee had joined the New York Islanders in the role of an alternate governor, vice president and special advisor to general manager Garth Snow.

Vegas Golden Knights

On July 13, 2016, McPhee left the Islanders organization after he was hired by Bill Foley, owner of the Las Vegas expansion franchise (which would later be named the Vegas Golden Knights) to be the new general manager of the team. [11] McPhee was named a finalist for the NHL General Manager of the Year Award after the Golden Knights had a phenomenal inaugural season, [12] which he would be awarded on June 20. [13]

Personal life

McPhee interned on Wall Street in New York for two off-seasons while playing for the Rangers in the 1980s. After retirement from his professional playing career, he studied law at Rutgers University's law school in New Jersey and clerked for a judge on the United States Court of International Trade before moving into a hockey management career. [9]

McPhee is married to wife Leah, with whom he has three children: son Graham (a Boston College Eagles player drafted 149 overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers), now playing with the Oilers' AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, and daughters Grayson and Adelaide. [9] [14]

Career statistics

Regular season Playoffs
Season TeamLeagueGP G A Pts PIM GPGAPtsPIM
1977–78 Guelph Platers OPJHL 485357110150
1978–79 Bowling Green State University CCHA 4340488858
1979–80 Bowling Green State UniversityCCHA3421244551
1980–81 Bowling Green State UniversityCCHA3625295468
1981–82 Bowling Green State UniversityCCHA4028528057
1982–83 Tulsa Oilers CHL 61174360145
1982–83 New York Rangers NHL 93366
1983–84 New York RangersNHL911211
1983–84 Tulsa OilersCHL49202848133
1984–85 New Haven Nighthawks AHL 322413
1984–85 New York RangersNHL4912152713931017
1985–86 New York RangersNHL30448631100032
1986–87 New York RangersNHL2144834610128
1987–88 New Jersey Devils NHL53038
1988–89 Utica Devils AHL832531310126
1988–89 New Jersey DevilsNHL10112
NHL totals1152425492572953873

Awards and honours

All-CCHA Second Team 1978–79 [15]
All-CCHA Second Team 1980–81 [15]
All-CCHA First Team 1981–82 [15]
AHCA West All-American 1981–82 [16]
NHL General Manager of the Year Award 2017–18
The Hockey News , Sam Pollock Award (Best GM)2018

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  1. "Las Vegas NHL team introduces George McPhee as GM". Las Vegas Review-Journal . 2016-07-13. Retrieved 2016-07-13.
  2. "Kelly McCrimmon named general manager of Vegas Golden Knights". Western Canada Hockey League. 2019-05-02. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  3. "Kelly McCrimmon promoted to Golden Knights general manager". SportsNet. 2019-05-02. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  4. Fraser, Jeremy (May 26, 2018). "Cape Breton connections in Stanley Cup final". Cape Breton Post. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  5. Carty, Matt. "Former Guelph Platers teammates at the helm of Stanley Cup finalists". Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  6. "1983-84 Tulsa Oilers". 2009-12-03. Retrieved 2009-12-03.
  7. Klein, J.Z. (May 16, 2012). "With Three Postseason Goals, Rangers' Kreider Ties Obscure Record". New York Times . Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  8. Lapointe, Joe "ON HOCKEY; McPhee Gets One-Month Ban", The New York Times, October 1, 1999, accessed January 8, 2011.
  9. 1 2 3 4 Prewitt, Alex (May 28, 2018). "How the Roster Decisions of Golden Knights GM George McPhee Color the Stanley Cup Final". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  10. Johnston, Mike "Closing the book on the Filip Forsberg trade once and for all", Sportsnet, June 28, 2016, accessed May 22, 2018.
  11. "George McPhee named GM of Las Vegas expansion team". Washington Post . 2016-07-13. Retrieved 2016-07-13.
  12. "NHL General Manager of Year finalists unveiled". May 16, 2018. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  13. "Golden Knights' George McPhee named general manager of the year". June 20, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  14. "Grayson McPhee".
  15. 1 2 3 "CCHA All-Teams". College Hockey Historical Archives. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
  16. "Men's Ice Hockey Award Winners" (PDF). Retrieved June 11, 2013.
Awards and achievements
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Award created
CCHA Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
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CCHA Player of the Year
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Winner of the Hobey Baker Award
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General manager of the Washington Capitals
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Position created
General manager of the Vegas Golden Knights
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