Matti Hagman, the first Finnish player to appear in the NHL, has passed away at the age of 61.
Selected in the sixth round (104th overall) of the 1975 NHL Entry Draft by Boston, Hagman featured in 237 career NHL games for the Bruins and Edmonton Oilers, registering 56 goals and 145 points with a further five goals and seven points in 21 play-off games.
He also played more than 400 games in the Finnish SM-Liiga, winning the national championship with HIFK in 1983. The Helsinki native spent much of his career with HIFK, including four years as captain and his final pro season in 1991-92.
During his time with HIFK, Hagman also won the Aarne Honkavaara Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer in 1979-80 and the Veli-Pekka Ketola Trophy as the Liiga’s highest points scorer on four occasions (1979-80, 1982-83, 1983-84, 1984-85).
Hagman also played in the WHA for Québec Nordiques during the 1977-78 season and spent a year in Germany with EV Landshut in 1985-86.
Inducted in to the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame (Jääkiekkoleijona) in 1995, he also represented Team Finland at the 1976 Winter Olympics and Canada Cup, winning the team MVP award.
Following his retirement from playing, Hagman enjoyed a brief coaching career in Finland, serving as head coach for I-divisioona Junkkarit HT for part of the 1993-94 season before he was replaced by Antero Kivelä in January 1994. His next stint behind the bench did not come until 2002, when he took over as coach of HC Salamat and helped the club achieve promotion to the Finnish second tier Mestis league. He retired from coaching at the end of the 2003-04 season.
His son, Niklas Hagman, also spent ten seasons in the NHL, representing Florida, Dallas, Toronto, Calgary and Anaheim between 2001 and 2012.