Historic Stanley Cup comeback is the goal for hockey hall-of-famer from Mississauga

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Published June 21, 2024 at 4:50 pm

Paul Coffey, of Mississauga, with Edmonton Oilers.
Paul Coffey, these days an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers, grew up in Mississauga. (Photo: YouTube)

From multiple Stanley Cup championships to being named the NHL’s top defenceman three times to being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, it seems Paul Coffey has accomplished pretty much everything he possibly could in the sport.

Not so fast, though. The Mississauga native, who has a Malton park and hockey arena named for him in Canada’s seventh-largest city, is doing his best these days to become even more a part of NHL history.

The four-time Stanley Cup champ — three titles with the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s, a fourth with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 — is focused on trying to win yet another Cup, this time as an assistant coach with the Oilers.

If the Oilers win Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final tonight in Alberta and follow that with a series-clinching victory Monday night just north of Miami against the tough-as-nails Florida Panthers, they’ll become only the second team in NHL history to erase a three games to none deficit in a best-of-seven final to win the Cup.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the only other club to pull off the feat, doing it in 1942 against the Detroit Red Wings.

Coffey, 63, played for nine teams over a 21-season career after being drafted sixth overall by Edmonton in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft. He quickly blossomed into one of the game’s best blueliners, especially standing out from the crowd with his nearly unmatched offensive game and his smooth, fast skating.

The eight-time NHL all-star, who’s second in all-time scoring for defenceman (behind only fellow 2004 Hall of Fame inductee Ray Bourque of the Boston Bruins), retired in 2001. In 2017, he was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history.

He joined his old team, the Oilers, as an assistant coach last November and now finds himself with an opportunity to add to his already impressive hockey resume.

Coffey was born in Weston (Toronto) and grew up in the Malton area of Mississauga. The old Malton Arena was renamed in his honour in 2016, the same year Wildwood Park in Malton became Paul Coffey Park.

Coffey isn’t the only Oiler with Mississauga ties.

Ryan McLeod, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound centre drafted in the second round by Edmonton in 2018, was born and raised in Mississauga.

He played his junior hockey with the Mississauga Steelheads (now Brampton) and Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.

McLeod, 24, scored a goal in each of games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup final against the Panthers and has three goals during the 2024 playoffs.

Paul Coffey at a recent Oilers’ practice. (Photo: YouTube)

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