By Helene St. James/Detroit Free Press
Bryan Murray, who was both coach and general manager of the Detroit Red Wings when they began their impressive playoff run, has died at age 74, after being diagnosed with colon cancer.
The news was announced on Saturday by the Ottawa Senators, where Murray served as general manager from 2007-16.
Murray joined the Wings during the 1990-91 season, after being let go by the Washington Capitals. In 1991, Murray got the Wings into the playoffs, beginning what would be a record-setting 25 consecutive seasons of making the playoffs. Murray also had the distinction of being Nicklas Lidstrom’s first NHL coach.
The Wings said in a statement that they “are saddened to learn of the passing of Bryan Murray, a deeply-respected staple in the NHL community for 35 years.
“The Red Wings organization would like to extend its deepest condolences to the Ottawa Senators organization and all of Murray’s family and friends during this most difficult time.”
Murray was general manager in Detroit through 1993-94, departing a year after Scotty Bowman had been named head coach. Murray would go on to serve as general manager of the Florida Panthers (1993-00), Anaheim Mighty Ducks (2002-04) and Senators (2007-16). He also served as head coach with each team, forging an NHL head coaching record of 620-465-131-23. In 13 full seasons as NHL head coach, Murray took his teams to the playoffs 12 times. In 2007, he coached the Senators to the Stanley Cup Final.
“Bryan Murray’s strength and character were reflected in the teams he coached and the teams he built over decades of front office excellence,” Commissioner Gary Bettina said in a statement. “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.”
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