Rugged 1980s Flyers alum defenseman Glen Cochrane, who battled cancer as fiercely as he took on any rival on the ice, has passed away at the age of 65. He is survived by his wife, Joan, and daughters Shelby, Paige, and Tegan.
Drafted by the Flyers in the third round (49th overall) of the 1978 NHL Draft, Cochrane rose through the ranks with the AHL’s Maine Mariners and spent parts of six seasons with the Flyers. “Cocher” was a regular or semi-regular starter for the team from 1981-82 to 1983-84. He
Philadelphia Flyers official statement below:
“The Philadelphia Flyers are saddened to learn of the passing of Glen Cochrane. Glen was drafted by the Flyers and played over half of his NHL games, which included six seasons, in Orange & Black”
A formidable and tough defenseman for the Flyers in the early 1980s, Cochrane was a key part of the Flyers blue line and ranks 10th all-time in team history in penalty minutes. He also helped the Flyers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Maine Mariners, win the Calder Cup Championship in 1979. He will forever be a member of the Flyers family. Our condolences go out to his wife, Joan, daughters, Tegan, Paige, and Shelby, and entire family during this difficult time.”
In 257 regular season games with the Flyers, Cochrane racked up a staggering 1,110 penalty minutes to go along with 77 points (16 goals, 61 assists) and a plus-74 rating at even strength. In 11 playoff games, he had two points (one goal, one assist) and 24 penalty minutes.
Above all, Cochrane embraced his policeman role with enthusiasm. He gained a reputation as one of the NHL’s fiercest fighters and body checkers. Cochrane threw his 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame around with abandon.
Mark Howe, who formed a successful pairing with Cochrane for two seasons before forging his iconic on-ice pairing with Brad McCrimmon, has often credited Cochrane with saving him a lot of wear and tear from opposing players taking runs at him.
In 2016, Howe recalled, “I’ll never forget when we had our preseason meetings with [head coach Bob] McCammon. Cagey called Cocher and me into his office. Cagey said, ‘Mark, your job is to move the puck, start the rush, and run the power play. Cocher, you make sure no one touches him.’
“We left the office and Glen put this big paw on my shoulder. He was several inches taller than me and had hands like meat hooks, so I almost felt like I was his little brother, even though I was a few years older than him. He said to me, ‘Don’t worry, no one’s gonna lay a hand on you.’
“He meant it, too. Cocher used to get steamed if I’d get run. Before too long, other teams started to give me more space. I got the credit, but Cocher was a big part of my success.”
The unlikely pairing worked. In his first season paired with Cochrane, Howe scored 20 goals and 67 points to go along with an outstanding +47 rating. He won his first Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers best defenseman and was a finalist for the Norris Trophy (won by Washington defenseman Rod Langway). Cochrane, meanwhile, posted a +42 rating to go along with his 237 penalty minutes.
Within the Flyers’ dressing room, Cochrane was a popular player among his teammates. A caring person lurked just beneath the surface of his rough-and-tough demeanor.
“Cocher was great guy, a great teammate, and one of the toughest guys in the league,” Brad Marsh recalled. “He fought for the team. I never met someone who loved his job as much as he did.”
Longtime Flyers statistician Bruce “Scoop” Cooper often tells a story that illustrates Cochrane’s dry sense of humor and western Canadian heritage. Normally fond of plaid work shirts, Cochrane was decked out in a nicely-tailored suit and tie for a travel day before a Flyers’ road trip.
“I said to Glen, ‘You’re the picture of sartorial splendor.’ He grinned at me and said, ‘That’s f-in’ easy for YOU to say, Scoop,” Cooper recalled.
Cochrane’s Flyers career came to an end on March 12, 1986, when the Flyers traded him to the Vancouver Canucks for a 1986 third-round draft pick. He remained in the NHL until 1988-89, playing for Vancouver, the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers. After his playing days ended, Cochrane became a scout. He worked for the Colorado Avalanche (2001-2007) and Anaheim Ducks until his passing.
In March 2020, Cochrane was slated to take part in the Flyers Alumni Association’s “Friday Night Fights” fundraising event as a guest speaker. Although he had a busy schedule of games to cover as an amateur scout and was based on the west coast, he planned to return to Philadelphia specifically for the Alumni event when there was an off night in his schedule.
Unfortunately, it never came to fruition. The Covid pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 event. When Friday Night Fights returned after the pandemic, the schedules did not work out to allow for Cochrane to return to Philadelphia to be welcomed by Flyers fans who fondly recalled his career.
Cochrane, sadly, is the fifth player who appeared on the 1984-85 Flyers team to pass away. He was predeceased by Pelle Lindbergh, Peter Zezel, Miroslav Dvorak, and Ilkka Sinisalo.