The 53-year-old was relieved of his duties after the Blue Jackets stumbled to a 33-42-7 record this season, good for 11th in the Western Conference. MacLean, the only president and general manager in franchise history, enjoyed little success during his tenure. The Blue Jackets were 172-258-62 all-time under MacLean, and are the only NHL franchise to have never reached the post-season.
The Blue Jackets appeared ready to post their first winning season after setting franchise records for wins (35) and points (74) in a season in 2005-’06. Columbus posted a 23-16-2 record over the second half of that season, but the momentum failed to carry over into 2006-’07.
The Summerside, P.E.I., native joined the Blue Jackets on Feb. 11, 1998 as general manager and a month later was named team president. MacLean enjoyed instant success, as the club went 28-39-9-6 in its inaugural 2000-’01 season, its 71 points the second-highest total ever by an NHL expansion team.
MacLean also served as the Blue Jackets’ head coach from Jan. 7, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2004.
Prior to joining the Blue Jackets, he served as the head coach in Florida, where he led his teams into the playoffs in both seasons behind the bench (1995-’96, 1996-’97). In his first season, MacLean led the Panthers to the Stanley Cup final, where they lost to the Colorado Avalanche.
Despite the loss, MacLean was named the NHL’s top coach by The Hockey News and was a finalist for the Jack Adams award.
MacLean began his NHL career as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues in 1985. He joined the Washington Capitals as an assistant coach prior to the 1988-’89 season. He remained with the Capitals before becoming the head coach of the franchise’s AHL affiliate in Baltimore midway through the 1989-’90 season. He spent 35 games behind the bench and guided the Skipjacks to a 17-13-5 mark.
He then went to the Detroit Red Wings as an assistant coach in 1990 and spent two years behind the bench before becoming the club’s assistant general manager as well as the GM of the Wings’ AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Red Wings.
He left Detroit to join Florida as director of player development and pro scout in 1994 and was named the second head coach in Panthers history July 24, 1995.