The NHL lost a decades-long stalwart of coaching and front-office leadership with the death of Bryan Murray, who coached for four different teams and served as general manager for five starting in 1981.
Murray, 74, died Saturday after battling colon cancer.
Murray most recently worked for the Ottawa Senators, serving as a special adviser to GM Pierre Dorion. Prior to stepping away from everyday responsibilities in 2016, Murray had been the Sens’ general manager for nearly a decade. He was head coach of the Washington Capitals in 1981, and he also spent time with the Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings.
“Bryan Murray’s strength and character were reflected in the teams he coached and the teams he built over decades of front office excellence,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Saturday, according to NHL.com. “While his warmth and dry sense of humor were always evident, they were accompanied by the fiery competitiveness and determination that were his trademarks. As we mourn Bryan’s passing, we celebrate his many contributions to the game — as well as his courage. The National Hockey League family sends our deepest condolences, comfort and support to Bryan’s family, his many friends and all whose lives he influenced.”
Murray won 620 games in the NHL, leading 12 different teams to playoff berths over 17 seasons. And his teaching style, one that earned him GM gigs in Anaheim, Detroit and Florida, rubbed off on plenty of the game’s big names. Chris Neil and Mike Fisher were but a handful of former Murray pupils who joined in celebrating the ex-coach and GM’s life Saturday, calling the late legend a father figure and “one of the most influential people” to impact the NHL as of late.