by Earl Zukerman, McGill Athletics
MONTREAL – McGill Athletics & Recreation is saddened to learn that Bryan Murray, a longtime National Hockey League coach and executive, passed away on Saturday. He was 74.
A native of Shawville, Quebec, Murray (B.Ed., Physical Education, 1964) was a student-athlete at McGill University's Macdonald College campus in the 1960s and went on to develop his coaching and administrative skills by guiding the Macdonald Aggies football team and the Macdonald Clansmen hockey squad while serving four years as director of athletics. In 1963, he earned football all-star status with the Aggies, who were playing in the Ottawa - St. Lawrence Athletics Association. In 1972-73, Murray guided the hockey Clansmen to a stellar 10-1-1 first-place finish in the OSLAA. The team advanced to the league final, where they defeated Chicoutimi (UQAC) in overtime to capture their first conference championship in four decades.
Murray then coached five years in the Central Junior Hockey League with Pembroke and Rockland before becoming head coach of the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. In 1979-80, he led the Pats to the WHL championship. Murray then took over as coach of the American Hockey League's Hershey Bears the following season.
He spent the last 35 years in the National Hockey League, including 18 seasons and 1,239 games behind the bench as head coach (he ranks 12th in all-time wins, with 620) and 22 seasons as a general manager, with Washington, Anaheim, Detroit, Florida and Ottawa, respectively. Under his watch, four McGill Redmen hockey grads were appointed to coaching posts in the NHL, including George Burnett (BEd 1985) and Mike Babcock (BEd (PE) 1986) in Anaheim, while Murray was serving as GM. Last year, Guy Boucher and Martin Raymond (BEd 1990, MEd 1996) were appointed as head coach and assistant coach, respectively, with the Ottawa Senators, where Murray was serving as a senior hockey advisor.
Murray was GM of the Red Wings (1990-94), Panthers (1994-98), Ducks (2001-04) and Senators (2007-16), and coached the Capitals (1981-90), Red Wings (1990-93), Panthers (1997-98), Ducks (2001-02) and Senators (2005-08).
Over his decorated career, Murray won the NHL's Jack Adams Award in 1983-84, which is annually presented to the head coach who is deemed to have contributed the most to his team's success. He also garnered a number of personal awards. On July 21, 2012, he was joined by his brother, Terry and his nephew, Tim, as an inaugural inductee on Shawville's Hockey Wall of Fame. On May 28, 2015, he was recognized with the United Way's prestigious Community Builder of the Year award and was inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame on June 5, 2015. Additionally, Murray was one of 13 honourees in the 2015 class of the Washington D.C. Sports Hall of Fame.
After being diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2014, Murray unselfishly confirmed his own medical situation with the public along with the powerful message of "get checked", hoping to help others with the early detection of colon cancer. He continued lending his time to the support cancer of research, both standardized and non-traditional in the years to follow.
Murray is survived by his wife, Geri, his two daughters, Heide and Brittany.
Athletics & Recreation