Lightning assistant coach Wayne Fleming, 62, dies of brain cancer
Lightning assistant coach Wayne Fleming, who had been battling brain cancer since April 2011, died Monday. He was 62. Fleming had been living at his Calgary home with wife Carolyn.
"I certainly had a whole lot of respect for him and he didn't disappoint me," said former Lightning assistant coach Marty Raymond said. "He was unbelievable for us. He was a great person with really strong values. I feel gut-wrenched."
Fleming was a giant in Canada's hockey circles. He had a long relationship with Hockey Canada and was an associate coach for the 2002 Canadian team that won gold at the 2002 Olympics. In the NHL, Fleming had stints with the Oilers, Flames, Flyers, Coyotes, Islanders and Lightning, joining coach Guy Boucher's staff.
He was a good friend of Blues coach Ken Hitchcock who last June dedicated his NHL coach of the year award to Fleming.
"He was just a great friend to hockey people in Canada," said Bob Nicholson, president of Hockey Canada. "It's sad to see a guy like that go, but he's in a better place for him and his family right now."
Nicholson said it was impossible to separate the coach from the person.
"The biggest legacy Wayne left was how he touched people, to make people betterr," Nicholson said. "Whether he was coaching a 10-year-old hockey team or coaching with Pat Quinn or Ken Hitchcock at the Olympic Games, he was just there to make everyone better."