Brad Smith played nearly 250 National Hockey League games with the Vancouver Canucks, Atlanta and Calgary Flames, Detroit Red Wings, and Toronto Maple Leafs. A physical, defensive winger, Smith was nominated for the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy in 1986.
Smith was born on April 13, 1958 in Windsor.
A Windsor Minor Hockey product, Smith eventually played for his hometown Windsor Spitfires. In 1976-77, Smith enjoyed an outstanding rookie season in the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League. He scored 37 goals and added 53 assists in 66 games as the Spitfires reached the OMJHL quarterfinals. Midway through the following campaign, Smith was traded to the Sudbury Wolves. He finished the season with a total of 39 goals and 37 assists.
The Vancouver Canucks selected Smith in the fourth round (57th overall) of the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft. After spending 60 games with the Central Hockey League’s Dallas Blackhawks, he made his NHL debut during the 1978-79 campaign and went on to play one and a half seasons with the Canucks. Next, he spent the same amount of time with the Flames organization, moving with the franchise from Atlanta to Calgary.
In 1981, the Flames traded Smith to the Detroit Red Wings. He went on to spend four and a half seasons with the organization, dividing his time between the NHL club and the Adirondack Red Wings of the American Hockey League. Smith established himself at the NHL level as the Wings’ primary enforcer. In 1984-85, Smith reverted to type as a high-scoring winger, tallying 33 goals and 39 assists in 75 games with Adirondack. He was named an AHL All-Star and rejoined Detroit for the 1985 NHL Playoffs.
Following that season, Smith turned down a contract extension to join the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent. A fan favourite “adrenalin player” in Toronto, he came to be known as “Motor City Smitty.” The 1985-86 season was the most productive of Smith’s career at the NHL level. He managed a career-high 17 assists and added five goals in 42 games.
At the end of the season, Smith was nominated for the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, which is awarded annually to the NHL player best exemplifying perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game of hockey. He played one further season with Toronto before retiring from hockey due to injury.
Smith finished his career at hockey’s highest level with 28 goals, 34 assists, and 591 penalty minutes in 222 regular season games plus three goals, three assists, and 49 penalty minutes in 20 playoff contests.
Following his playing career, Smith was briefly head coach of the Windsor Spitfires from 1989 to ’91. He went on to became a scout for the Colorado Avalanche, which captured three Stanley Cups during Smith’s time in the organization. At the time of his induction into the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame, Smith had just completed his fourth season as the Director of Player Personnel for the Avalanche.