Legends of Hockey - Spotlight - Al MacInnis - The Pinnacle
Spotlight
One on One Treasure Chest Pinnacle

Al MacInnis hoisting the Stanley Cup following the Calgary's Cup win over Montreal in 1989.
(Paul Bereswill/HHOF)
The long-standing 'Battle of Alberta' continued to rage during the 1980s. Both the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers jockeyed for position through the decade. But key strategic moves seemed to bolster the Flames' attack. Doug Gilmour was added to the roster in a trade with the St. Louis Blues. The previous spring, Brett Hull was sacrificed in favour of veteran presence in the form of defenceman Rob Ramage and netminder Rick Wamsley. Sophomore Joe Nieuwendyk continued his spectacular develop.

For a second consecutive season, the Flames won the Presidents' Trophy by finishing first overall. In fact, their 117 points set a franchise record. Joey Mullen finished seventh in scoring with 51 goals and 110 points.

Calgary faced the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of post-season action, and in a grueling series, triumphed in seven games. Netminder Mike Vernon shone, but no more so than when he stoned Stan Smyl in overtime. Round Two was less challenging, as the Flames swept the Kings of Los Angeles in four straight games. After defeating the Chicago Blackhawks in five games through Round Three, Calgary was faced with a re-match of the 1985-86 Stanley Cup final. The opponent — the Montreal Canadiens.

Al MacInnis was inducted into the Hockey Hall
of Fame in 2007. (Dave Sandford/HHOF)
In 1989, the result was different, though. After five games, Calgary was up three games to two. Game 6 was staged May 25 at the Montreal Forum. The Flames defeated the Canadiens 4-2 to capture the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. The hometown crowd, in a show of great sportsmanship, gave the champions a standing ovation as they milled about around the ice. As it turned out, it was the first time in Montreal's storied history that an opposing club had won the Stanley Cup on the ice at the Forum.

The Stanley Cup was the culmination of an extraordinary season for the Flames, and an especially satisfying campaign for Al MacInnis, who concluded his season by also being presented with the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable contributor in the playoffs. "Like any other player stepping into the National Hockey League, you want to become the most complete player; the most consistent player you can be. I felt after a few years I did that and just as time goes on you get lucky enough to play on some great teams with some great teammates and you are able to put up some numbers and these guys help you accomplish a Stanley Cup and a few individual awards. I was very fortunate to have the career I had. When I look back, it was quite a ride."

On reminiscing on the pinnacle of his hockey career, Al stated, "Thinking back when you're growing up playing street hockey, the Stanley Cup was always your number one goal. You play this game to win the Stanley Cup. I would have loved to win more than one, but looking back over my career, I feel very fortunate as there are a lot of great players that don't get a chance to win one. To think that we won one was, no question, the highlight of my career."

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and On-Line Features at the Hockey Hall of Fame.