Longtime NHL coach and executive Bryan Murray, who left a significant impact on the Ducks and the four other teams that he led, lost his battle with cancer and died Saturday. He was 74.
Murray was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer three years ago. Most recently, the native of Shawville, Quebec was serving as a special advisor to Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion after stepping down from that position in April 2016.
In three seasons with the Ducks from 2001-04, Murray presided over a team that reached the 2003 Stanley Cup Final before losing to New Jersey in seven games. His greatest impact came as GM after coaching them in 2001-02, making notable acquisitions in Adam Oates, Petr Sykora, Rob Niedermayer, Steve Thomas and Sandis Ozolinsh.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, whose goaltending became the story of the 2003 playoffs in winning the Conn Smythe Trophy, remembered Murray as a “really, really kind man” who commanded respect with his hockey knowledge but also had the ability to connect with people.
“Bryan was always one of my favorites,” Giguere said. “He’s always been one of the guys I truly respected. He was never over the top like some coaches can be. I think the players all respected him.
“It’s a sad day. I thought he looked well during the playoffs. It looked like he was healthy and happy to be there. I’m very shocked.”
Murray also set the franchise up for the future by taking cornerstones Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in the first round of the 2003 draft before leaving for Ottawa. Winning a Stanley Cup was the one thing that eluded him in his impressive resume.