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McCrimmon spent the last three NHL seasons as an assistant coach with the Red Wings. He left the organization when his contract expired to take his first head coaching job in pro hockey with Lokomotiv.

“Beast was a confident guy and he would look at this as a challenge,” Peplinski said. “I remember when I heard Sarge had gone over there I thought, `The Russians better be careful. This will be good for them.’

“Lots of confidence in himself, an independent thinker and a person that would have improved the game in Russia and brought his own unique skill set and abilities to that organization.”

Born in Dodsland, Saskatchewan, McCrimmon grew up in Plenty, west of Saskatoon, and played junior hockey with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. McCrimmon’s brother, Kelly, is the owner and general manager of the Wheat Kings.

McCrimmon was drafted 15th overall by the Boston Bruins in 1979 and spent three seasons there, followed by five with Philadelphia before he was dealt to the Flames. McCrimmon went on to play for Detroit, the Hartford Whalers and Phoenix Coyotes before retiring in 1997.

McCrimmon started his coaching career as an assistant with the New York Islanders before returning to the WHL to coach the Saskatoon Blades. He headed back to the NHL to coach with Calgary, the Atlanta Thrashers and Detroit.

McCrimmon and his family lived in Northville, Mich.

He’s survived by wife Maureen and children Carlin and Liam.