Few hockey players have done as much, as quickly, as Craig Simpson. After accelerating his studies at Oakridge Secondary School, the Oakridge Minor Hockey product entered Michigan State University on an athletic scholarship at the tender age of 16. Two years later, he was selected second overall in the National Hockey League draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins and his scoring exploits were soon felt.
Traded to Edmonton Oilers for the legendary Paul Coffey, Simpson was a key player in Edmonton’s Stanley Cup victories in 1988 and 1990. In the 87-88 season, he scored 56 goals and 34 assists en route to a career that produced 283 regular season and playoff goals and 565 points in 701 games. This, in a career hampered by a back injury that would force his retirement in 1996 at the peak of his career. He left holding the record for best career shooting percentage with 23.66%. plus the record for best career playoff shooting percentage with 33.65%.
But hockey didn’t end for him. Simpson was an assistant coach with Edmonton for four seasons before entering the broadcast booth, where he remains as colour commentator for Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts. His sister Christine is a hockey reporter for Sportsnet. Brother Dave was Canadian Hockey League player of the year while with the London Knights and his mother Marion is a former Olympic-level athlete.
Skating didn’t end for Craig, either. In 2009, with partner Jamie Sale, Simpson won the Battle of the Blades, a made for TV show partnering eight former players with figure skaters. He and Jamie would later marry.
The London Sports Hall of Fame is proud to induct Craig Simpson in the athlete modern category.