Bill LaForge dead at age 53

Former Vancouver Canucks head coach Bill LaForge died Sunday of an apparent heart attack.

He was 53.

LaForge, a cousin of Edmonton Oilers president Pat LaForge, had been ailing for years.

LaForge succeeded Harry Neale as Canucks head coach in 1983-84, only to be fired after 22 games – and replaced by Neale, who had become the general manager.

LaForge's stint (4-14-2) remains the shortest in Canucks history and included a franchise record-tying nine-game losing skid.

"He looked like a guy who was going to be a successful coach," Neale told The Vancouver Sun.

"Bill's passion for the game was obvious...but the NHL just wasn't his cup of tea. That became fairly obvious, fairly quickly and it was too bad."

LaForge is survived by his wife, Penny, and four grown children.

with files from CP Online