Former Western Hockey League head coach Bryan Murray, who guided the Regina Pats to a WHL Championship and Memorial Cup appearance in 1980, passed away on Saturday after a courageous battle with colon cancer. He was 74.
Murray, a native of Shawville, Que., coached the 1979-80 Pats to a regular season mark of 47-24-1 before knocking off the Victoria Cougars in five games to claim the 1980 WHL Championship title.
Despite his short stay in the WHL, Murray was long regarded as a strong supporter of the league in which he got his start, including the Canadian Hockey League. Following his lone season in the Queen City, Murray was hired on as head coach of the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears. Upon helping the Bears achieve a record of 47-24-9 in 1980-81 – his one campaign in the AHL – Murray continued to climb the coaching ranks as he was brought in by the Washington Capitals to take over their bench responsibilities for the 1981-82 season. That was the beginning of a 35-year career in the National Hockey League, which included a Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year (1983-84, Washington), recognition as NHL Executive of the Year (1995-96, Florida) and NHL Regular Season Championship (2005-06, Ottawa).
Though Murray never won a Stanley Cup, the 2006-07 season saw him behind the bench as the Ottawa Senators went 48-25-0-9 before making a trip to the Stanley Cup Final where they fell to the Anaheim Ducks in five games. As a general manager, he was an architect of the 1995-96 Florida Panthers and 2002-03 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, both of which earned trips to the Stanley Cup Final. The Panthers lost to the Colorado Avalanche in 1996, while the Mighty Ducks were defeated by the New Jersey Devils in seven games in 2003.
Over his entire NHL career, Murray spent time with the Capitals (1980-81 through 1989-90), Detroit Red Wings (1990-91 through 1993-94), Florida Panthers (1994-95 through 1998-99), Mighty Ducks (2001-02 through 2003-04) and Senators (2004-05 through 2016-17).
As an NHL head coach, Murray logged 620 wins over 17 NHL seasons.
Remembering Bryan Murray: pic.twitter.com/RVUIVQ7oiI
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) August 12, 2017