Big Brother Billy preceded him to the NHL but Bobby made his own mark in the big league. He was born on September 3, 1952 in Charlottetown, PEI and raised by his mother after his father passed away. His older brother Bill was his hero and a role model playing with Canada’s National Team and earning a bronze medal in the1968 Olympics.
Bobby’s early days were played in the old Charlottetown Forum which was almost like a second home.
“The Forum? It was hockey," reminises MacMillan. “The place smelled like a hockey rink. I spent my childhood there. We used to scrape the ice so we could get in for free. The staff was great and so were those who ran minor hockey in the building. Bill Murphy, Ivan Doherty and Brigadier General Bill Reid played an important role setting up a minor hockey program in those days.”
His junior career began in the old building in the late 60’s with the Charlottetown Jr. Islanders and continued with the St. Catherines Black Hawks in the early 70’s. His best season was in 1970-71 where the star forward scored 41 goals and added 62 assists for 103 points in 59 games. MacMillan’s first season with the Jr. Islanders saw him score 33 goals, 35 assists for 68 points in 40 games during the 1969-70 season.
Bob originally was drafted by the NY Rangers (in the first round and 15th overall in 1972) but opted to join the Minnesota Fighting Saints in the WHA that year.
He re-joined the Rangers in 1974-75 (making his NHL debut in Atlanta on November 29, 1974) but played the majority of his NHL years with St. Louis and Atlanta and later with Calgary, Colorado, New Jersey, and Chicago. His pro career lasted from 1972 to 1985. His best year was 1978-79 with Atlanta where he had 37 goals, 71 assists, 108 points and won the Lady Byng trophy for sportsmanship. MacMillan had six - 20 plus goal seasons. His best playoff year was 1980-81 with 8 goals, 6 assists, and 14 points in 16 post season games.
He retired from the pro ranks after 1985 but joined the Charlottetown Islanders as a coach in the New Brunswick Senior Hockey League in the late 80’s and even tried a brief four game come back. He’s one of a few players to begin his career with the Islanders and end it with the Islanders albeit in different eras.
MacMillan became a member of the PEI Legislative Assembly in 2000 and served one term as a Progressive Conservative MLA in Charlottetown. He also coached minor hockey and has been involved in several business ventures including the Sport Page Club bar and restaurant on Kent St. in Charlottetown.
Bob MacMillan’s NHL totals are impressive. 753 games played, 228 goals, 349 assists and 577points. He only had 260 minutes in penalties.
His WHA totals were 153 games played, 27 goals, 61 assists and 88 points.
A pretty remarkable career for Bobby Mac.
Bobby MacMillan was inducted into the PEI Sports Hall of Fame in July, 1979. Brother Bill joined him in the Hall in 1985.
NHL AWARDS AND HONORS
Lady Byng Trophy: 1978-79 (Atlanta)
100-point seasons: 1978-79 (108 points)
Atlanta Ellmans Trophy (MVP): 1977-78 (co-winner)
New Jersey Franchise Records: Most goals in game (4 against St. Louis while playing for Colorado Rockies on Jan. 18, 1982. Shares record with three others)
St. Louis Points Leader: 1976-77 (58)
St. Louis Assists Leader: 1976-77 (39)
St. Louis Playoffs Points Leader: 1977 (1, tie)
St. Louis Playoffs Assists Leaders: 1977 (1, tie)
Atlanta Points Leader: 1978-79 (108)
Atlanta Goals Leader: 1977-78 (31)
Atlanta Assists Leader: 1978-79 (71)
Atlanta Playoffs Points Leader: 1978 (2, tie)
Atlanta/Calgary Playoffs Goals Leader: 1981 (8, tie)
Atlanta Playoffs Assists Leader: 1978 (2)
1980-81: Played on first Calgary Flames team.
1982-83: Played on first New Jersey Devils team.
Miscellaneous: Set Atlanta/Calgary record (since broken) with six points in game against Cleveland on March 4, 1978. ... Set Atlanta/Calgary record (since broken) with 71 assists in 1978-79. ... Became first player in Atlanta/Calgary franchise history to break 100 points when he achieved feat in 1978-79. ... A 1978-79 poll of coaches found him to be the NHL's most underrated player. ... Missed most of 1979 Atlanta training camp and first few games of 1979-80 season after having appendix removed. ... Played on Atlanta team that relocated to Calgary in summer of 1980. ... Played on Colorado team that relocated to New Jersey in summer of 1982. ... Missed part of 1982-83 season with stretched knee ligaments. ... Separated right shoulder while playing for Chicago against Winnipeg on Jan. 16, 1985. The injury required surgery and ended his NHL career.