Former Ducks coach and general manager Bryan Murray, the architect of the team's first Stanley Cup Finals appearance, dies at 74

Bryan Murray, a longtime hockey executive and general manager of the Ducks during their 2003 Stanley Cup Final run, died Saturday. He was 74.

Murray served first as coach and then as general manager of the then-Mighty Ducks from 2001 to 2004. He was the architect of the team that advanced to the 2003 Final, the first such appearance for the franchise. Murray drafted current Ducks players and franchise cornerstones Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in 2003 and helped build the Ducks team that won the 2007 Stanley Cup.

“As both head coach and general manager of the team, Bryan led our organization with class, dignity and charisma,” the Ducks said in a statement. "Bryan’s legacy goes far beyond his success on the ice, including his courageous fight with cancer and countless contributions to the communities he served. He will be forever remembered by all he touched.”

Murray was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014. He remained active in the game, with the Ottawa Senators, who confirmed his passing. Murray told The Times in 2015 that hockey kept him going.

"Being around the young people, being mentally involved, it helps, I think,” Murray said. “My family has been great, my wife has been great, but I think they understand that I like doing this."

Murray won 620 games as a coach and was given the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year with the Washington Capitals in 1984. He was involved in the NHL as a player, coach or general manager for 35 years and developed a reputation as a well-liked and respected executive known for his hockey wisdom.

“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 release. “While his warmth and dry sense of humor were always evident, they were accompanied by the fiery competitiveness and determination that were his trademarks.”

Condolences from the hockey world poured in Saturday, from longtime friends and colleagues to those who knew him briefly.

“Thank you for believing in me, and helping me kick-start my career,” Stefan Noesen, a former Ducks and Senators prospect currently with the New Jersey Devils, wrote on his Twitter account.

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