Maxwell “Max” McNab (Watson, SK) was born in 1924 in the town of Watson and grew up playing his minor hockey in Saskatoon. During the years 1944 and 1945, McNab would serve in the military during World War II. Upon his return, McNab play one season in 1945 with the Regina Caps before pursuing his NHL dream.
Beginning with a few short stints in the United States Hockey League, International Hockey League and American Hockey League, McNab would finally receive the call up to the National Hockey League to play for the Detroit Redwings. He would play off and on for the Redwings for 3 years, winning a Stanley Cup with the club in 1950. At the end of the 1951 season, back surgery put McNab out of commission for the following season but he would return to the ice in that same year, adopting the role of both player and coach for the New Westminster Royals of the Western Hockey League. McNab would go on to play eight seasons for the Royals, earning the league’s Most Valuable Player Award in 1955 where he scored 32 goals and had a total of 81 points.
Max McNab would retire from playing in 1961 and would make the transition from player to team staffer, being named the General Manager and Coach of the San Francisco Seals of the Western Hockey League. McNab would go on to hold Coaching and General manager positions with the Vancouver Canucks and San Diego Gulls of the Western Hockey League from 1961 to 1974. Succeeding his coaching career, McNab would go on to serve as the President of the Central Hockey League during the 1974-74 season. This would be the catalyst that would launch him to the position of National Hockey League General Manger for the Washington Capitals from 1975 to 1982. In 1982, he would serve as General Manager for Team Canada at the World Championships. The following season, McNab would be chosen as General Manager of the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils organization from 1983 to 1986. McNab would remain with the Devils as the Executive Vice President of the club from 1987 through to 1994.
Max McNab would be awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1998 and was inducted into the Omaha Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003.