Defenseman Jack McIlhargey, one of the most popular Richmond Robins players in the 1970s who had two stints with the Philadelphia Flyers, died Saturday in British Columbia at the age of 68 after a battle with cancer.
Mr. McIlhargey wasn’t selected in the NHL draft and battled his way up through the minor leagues. After starting his pro career with the Eastern Hockey League’s Jersey Devils in 1972, Mr. McIlhargey joined the Robins, the Flyers’ American Hockey League affiliate.
A tough guy nicknamed “Bucky,” Mr. McIlhargey fought his way onto the radar of Flyers general manager Keith Allen by taking on all comers at the AHL level and compiling a combined 479 penalty minutes over two seasons.
Mr. McIlhargey spent two stints with the Flyers (1974-75 to 1976-77 and 1979-80 to 1980-81). In total, Mr. McIlhargey dressed in 128 regular-season games for the Flyers (497 penalty minutes, 10 points) and 24 playoff matches (66 penalty minutes, three assists).
After his playing days ended, Mr. McIhargey turned to coaching, first as a minor league assistant in the Hartford Whalers organization and with the Vancouver Canucks organization for the better part of 20 years.
Mr. McIlhargey returned to the Flyers’ organization in 2007, when he became an assistant coach under John Stevens. He remained in his post until Dec. 4, 2009, when Stevens was replaced by Peter Laviolette.
In 2011, Mr. McIhargey was rehired by the Flyers as a scout, starting a tenure that spanned the rest of his life. That year, he entered the British Columbia Hockey Hall of Fame.