Wayne Fleming, long-time NHL assistant coach, dies at 62

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Sad news in the hockey world today as long-time NHL assistant coach Wayne Fleming has passed away at the age of 62 from brain cancer.

From Hockey Canada:

“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 was last with the Tampa Bay Lightning after being hired in July 2010, a month after the hiring of Guy Boucher.

"I needed someone with experience as well as an open mind and he certainly fits that perfectly," former Lightning head coach Boucher said at the time. "I think he’s the perfect fit for our staff."

Fleming underwent brain surgery in April 2011 after a malignant tumor was discovered, and in the weeks that followed the Lightning would make a run to the Eastern Conference Final, coming within a game of playing for the Stanley Cup, all while with their ailing assistant coach on their minds.

In February, Fleming was made a member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame eight months before the actual induction was to take place. During a small ceremony at his home in Calgary, Fleming laid unresponsive until opening his eyes after hearing a small speech from Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee chair Don Kuryk, according to Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun.

Fleming served as an assistant with the Islanders, Edmonton, Calgary, Philadelphia, Phoenix and finally with the Lightning. He also was a big supporter of Hockey Canada, helping lead the nation to a silver medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics and gold in 2002 as an associate coach.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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