A bit of sad news to kick off the Easter long weekend, folks. Former Calgary Flames scout Tom Webster, a legend around hockey circles, has passed away at the age of 71.
Sorry to hear about the passing of former OHA/WHA/NHL player and former AHL/OHL/NHL coach Tom Webster at the age of 71. A very nice man who, in my experiences, treated people very well. He has also had an incredible passion for the game. Condolences to his family/friends.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 10, 2020
Webster had notable accomplishments in his hockey career both on and off the ice. A right wing, he was drafted by the Boston Bruins in 1966 after some strong performances in Ontario’s junior circuit, but he failed to catch on in the NHL – he bounced between Boston, Detroit and the California Golden Seals and played just 102 NHL games.
So he headed to the WHA, scoring at over a point per game pace over six seasons with the New England Whalers. He battled injuries late in his career and transitioned post-WHA merger into coaching. He served as head or assistant coach pretty much constantly over two decades, including a handful of stints as an NHL head coach (three seasons with the Los Angeles Kings and interim stints with the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers). He even coached the Flames’ farm team in Salt Lake City for a year in the early ’80s.
He transitioned to scouting after retiring from coaching in 2003, joining the Flames in a role that ultimately blended junior and pro scouting. He used his vast pro experience and familiarity with the OHL to help the Flames find players that could help them. OHLers drafted by the Flames during his tenure include Brandon Prust, Mickey Renaud, TJ Brodie, Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett. His biggest feather in his cap is being the scout that recommended the Flames bring some OHL overage defenseman named Mark Giordano to development camp in 2004. Giordano impressed and signed a contract, and the rest is history. Webster retired from scouting after the 2014 NHL Draft.
Condolences to Webster’s family and friends on his passing.