Wayne Fleming, one of Ken Hitchcock’s assistant coaches when the two of them were with the Flyers, died Tuesday after a two-year battle with brain cancer.
He was 62.
"The Philadelphia Flyers are deeply saddened with the news of the loss of Wayne Fleming today. The hockey world lost a great friend, a wonderful human being and a terrific hockey mind," the Flyers said in a statement. "We send our condolences to Wayne's wife, Carolyn, their four children and the rest of the Fleming family."
“He was a great friend on and off the ice,” Hitchcock told CSNPhilly.com. “You couldn’t have a more loyal guy or co-worker as a friend and Wayne had friends in every city.”
Fleming was last an assistant coach in Tampa Bay in 2011. He served as an assistant on six NHL clubs, including the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Phoenix Coyotes, New York Islanders and Flyers from 2002-03 through the 2006 season under Hicthcock.
He and Hitchcock served as assistants under Pat Quinn on Team Canada’s staff in 2002 when the Canadians won the Olympic gold medal in Salt Lake City.
In so many ways, he served as Hitchcock's confidant wherever the two coached.
“Hockey Canada has lost a great friend, and the hockey world has lost not only a tremendous coach, but a wonderful man,” said Bob Nicholson, president and CEO of Hockey Canada.
“We send our condolences to Wayne’s wife, Carolyn, their four children and the rest of the Fleming family.”
Fleming had international exposure as a coach in Europe, as well. He was a head coach in the KHL with Avangard Omsk in 2009 and also head coach of Leksands IF (Sweden - 1992-96), EHC Kloten (Switzerland - 1996-97) and EV Landshut (Germany - 1996-97).
“Everyone sought his advice,” Hitchcock said. “Every federation throughout the world had had high regard for Wayne. You really could not ask for a better friend or quality coach.”