The New Jersey Devils are currently mourning the loss of one of their key scouts: Marcel Pronovost.
Born June 15, 1930 in Lac-a-la-Tortue, Quebec, the 84-year old scout was a Hall of Fame defenseman with the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He played 20 years in the NHL, from 1950-51 to 1969-70 and won five Stanley Cups. His best season point-wise was 1954-55 when he scored 9 goals and 25 assists for 34 points in 70 games, although his best goal scoring year came in 1958-59 when he scored 11 in 69 games.
He played the first 15 years of his career in Detroit where he won four of his Cups. He was traded on May 20, 1965 to Toronto with Aut Erickson, Larry Jeffrey, Eddie Joyal and Lowell MacDonald for Billy Harris, Gary Jarrett and Andy Bathgate. He won his last Stanley Cup with the Leafs in 1967. He ended up playing in 1,206 NHL regular season games and 134 playoff games. He scored 88 goals over his career with 257 helpers for 345 points. His playoff totals were 8 goals, 23 assists for 31 points and 104 penalty minutes.
After retiring in 1970, he went on to a coaching career. According to his obituary on the official Devils website, his first coaching job actually came when Toronto named him a player/coach in 1969-70 with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League, who they were affiliated with at the time. He was named CHL coach of the year in 1971-72 after he had retired from playing.
His next coaching stop was with the World Hockey Association’s Chicago Cougars in 1972-73, the team’s first coach. He then moved on to two stints with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Hull Festivals and Hull Olympiques between 1975-76 and 1979-80. It was in 1978 that he was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a player.
His coaching experience in the NHL came first as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres between October 1977 and December 1978, posting a 52-29-23 record for a winning percentage of .611 according to the Devils’ site. After Buffalo, he returned to the Red Wings as an assistant coach from 1979-80 to 1980-81.
After his time as a coach, Mr. Pronovost became a scout. He worked with the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau beginning in 1985. In 1990, he joined the Devils organization as a scout based in Windsor, Ontario. He was a member of the scouting staff for all three of the Devils’ Stanley Cup championships, adding three more Cups to his impressive resume.
On the Devils’ site, it is mentioned that he is survived by his second wife, Eva, his two sons Leo (and his wife Tina) and Michel (and his wife Marie) and his daughter Brigitte Stickley (and her husband Wayne) and three grandchildren. He was pre-deceased by his first wife, Cindy, who passed in 1993.
Lou Lamoriello extended his condolences on behalf of the Devils organization and mentioned that he “was a caring individual who dedicated his life to his family and to the game of hockey.” Lou finished: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Pronovost family.”
The Devils lost an important part of their hockey family and the game lost an all-time great. May Mr. Pronovost rest in peace.