City loses colourful sports personality LaForge

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

Edmonton lost one of its colourful sports personalities Sunday with the passing of Bill LaForge.

LaForge, 53, had a distinguished career as a hockey coach that took him to the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks, but he made his mark here as a longtime member of the Edmonton Huskies.

In failing health, LaForge died of a heart attack, according to Edmonton Oilers president and cousin Patrick LaForge.

LaForge, who'd dropped out of the public spotlight in recent years, attended a Hot Stove session hosted by the Oilers and Hockey Canada at Rexall Place Thursday.

"He had plenty of ideas how we could set this thing up," Patrick LaForge said of the Oilers' ongoing bid to land a WHL franchise.

"I could see the optimism in his eyes. Bill loved hockey."

LaForge coached Oshawa, Niagara Falls, Guelph and Hamilton of the OHL and Regina and Kamloops of the WHL, but was best known for his 20-game stint as coach of the Canucks in 1984-85.

"He'd give me a call once a month to talk hockey," said Oilers GM Kevin Lowe, who spoke with LaForge Thursday. "It's sad. I was shocked when I was told the news."

LaForge played with the Huskies of the Prairie Football Conference and went on to serve the team as president and GM until 1996.


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