For the past three years, most of the success the Golden Knights have achieved on the ice can be credited to the “two-headed monster” of George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon. As a pair, they’ve called all the shots that took Vegas from an expansion team to the Stanley Cup Final to a perennial contender in an incredibly short period of time.
From the moment I got here I was struck by (the fact that), we have two GMs. I like to call you guys the two-headed monster. I know you don’t like that and you said to me, ‘we’re not monsters Gary’ –Gary Lawless on SLGND Podcast
Whatever you call them, they are a heck of a pair atop the Golden Knights front office depth chart. So much so that in May of last year McCrimmon was promoted to general manager out of McPhee’s fear that he would leave for another job if he wasn’t.
It’s a partnership that has defined the Golden Knights, but it’s one that may have never been formed in the first place if not for an assist from an unlikely source.
As recently as July of 2016, McCrimmon and McPhee had never met. They knew of each other having both worked in hockey for the past few decades, but it wasn’t until a phone call in July, then a meeting in an airport in Austria in August that they actually linked up.
That phone call, the first one from McPhee to McCrimmon, may not have happened if not for a powerful recommendation from a man known in the hockey community as “The Bobfather.”
I had just finished reading Bob McKenzie’s book (Hockey Confidential) a few years ago and I thought jeez Bob would be a good guy just to call and say ‘here’s my list of guys I’m considering for assistant GM, do you have anybody I should put on this list?’ -McPhee on SLGND Podcast
So George asked me and the first thing I said to him, ‘is Kelly McCrimmon on your list? ‘-Bob McKenzie, TSN
I didn’t know Kelly. I do recall our amateur scouting staff in Washington always said good things about him. -McPhee on SLGND Podcast
I told him I couldn’t tell him that Kelly should be his assistant GM but he should definitely be considered. Good businessman, good hockey man. Tons of experience. Hard worker. Character guy. All that good stuff. -McKenzie
He raised Kelly’s name. It was just enough for me to say, ‘you know what I should talk to him.’ -McPhee on SLGND Podcast
It really wasn’t that big a deal. Quick question from George. Quick answer from me. -McKenzie
We had our first conversation and it wasn’t long and I was like jeez I really like the sounds of this guy. Then we talked again and boy in a matter of days things were done. -McPhee on SLGND Podcast
Fast forward a few years…
It’s the best working relationship I’ve had in this business. -McPhee on May 2nd, 2018
Together they’ve turned the Golden Knights into a bonafide powerhouse in the Western Conference and whenever the players return to the ice, McPhee and McCrimmon’s crew will have as good a chance of winning the Stanley Cup as anyone else.
Happy it worked out for George and Kelly and that they got hooked up. -McKenzie
Guess McPhee made an offer McCrimmon couldn’t refuse.