Bryan Murray, an NHL coaching giant known for his rapier wit, acute hockey sense and, ultimately, courage in his fight against cancer, has died. He was 74.
The Ottawa Senators confirmed Murray’s death in a release on Saturday. The former NHL coach and general manager, who remained in the game until his death, had been fighting Stage 4 colon cancer for the past three years.
Murray received the cancer diagnosis in the summer of 2014, but he waged a valiant, public battle against the disease, remaining actively involved with the Senators as a senior adviser after stepping down as general manager after the 2015-16 season.
“Bryan was one of the greatest men that the game of hockey has ever known, and also a great father, mentor and teacher,” Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said in a release Saturday. “We extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Geri, daughters, Heide and Brittany and the entire Murray family on their loss.”
Plenty of accolades
Over his 35 years of working in the NHL, Murray won the Jack Adams award as NHL coach of the year in 1984 with the Washington Capitals and executive of the year as general manager of the Florida Panthers in 1993.
Later, he coached the to a Senators to a Stanley Cup final appearance in 2017. He coached 1,239 regular-season games over his NHL career, compiling a record of 620 wins (10th most in NHL history), 465 losses, 131 ties and 23 overtime losses.
“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 in a statement. “While his warmth and dry sense of humour 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.”
While best known for his work as a GM and NHL coach Murray is also fondly remembered as a loving husband, devoted father, doting grandfather and loyal friend.
Nashville general manager David Poile, a close friend of Murray’s spoke highly of Murray during an interview last year.
“Players always have good things to say about Bryan,” Poile said. “He knew how to communicate with players. Sometimes it was his sense of humour, his sarcasm, but he just knew…