Ducks place GM Bob Murray on leave amid probe of unprofessional conduct allegations
Ducks general manager Bob Murray was placed on administrative leave on Tuesday based on a law firm’s preliminary investigation into allegations he had created a hostile workplace atmosphere by repeatedly scolding club employees, sending scathing messages to players and berating the team’s coaches, according to sources familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak publicly.
The Ducks said in a statement the investigation was “related to professional conduct.” Club owners Henry and Susan Samueli moved swiftly and silently once they became aware of the accusations, a source said.
After conducting an internal review, the Ducks hired the Century City-based law firm Sheppard Mullin to carry out an independent investigation. “Upon recommendation from their initial findings, we have decided to place Bob on administrative leave pending final results,” the statement said. “We will have no further comment until the investigation is complete.”
The 2021-22 season is Murray’s 47th in a row in the NHL as a player and executive, including 14 as executive vice president and general manager of the Ducks. Before that he was their vice president of hockey operations, the title that accompanies his name on the Cup for the team’s 2007 championship. Murray, 66, is among the five men who have played in and been general manager of a team for 1,000 NHL regular-season games.
The Ducks missed the playoffs the past three seasons while Murray slowly reconfigured their roster, but they have been competitive this season and took a four-game winning streak into their game at Vancouver on Tuesday.
In 2009 Murray was accused of assault by a TV stage manager who claimed he had thrown a chair at her after a playoff game between the Ducks and the Red Wings at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, causing injuries to the left side of her chest, her arm and her shoulder. The lawsuit contended her injuries led her to lose her job, car and home. A jury cleared him of the assault charge in 2012.
The Ducks’ announcement came while the NHL is examining its culture and trying to shed the good-old-boys ethos that for decades promoted the coverup of rude or unethical behavior.
The league is still reeling following an investigation that determined the Chicago Blackhawks had failed to investigate prospect Kyle Beach’s report he had been sexually abused by video coach Brad Aldrich in 2011. The team allowed Aldrich to continue working for several weeks; during that time, he made advances on an intern. Aldrich was allowed to resign without consequences and in 2014 pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a minor in Michigan, where he was coaching youth hockey. At the request of the Blackhawks the engraving of Aldrich’s name on the Stanley Cup was covered up.
Stan Bowman, who was the Blackhawks’ general manager in 2011, and assistant GM Al MacIsaac resigned; Bowman also resigned his position as GM of the U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team. Then-coach Joel Quenneville, who had left Chicago to coach in Florida, resigned as coach of the Panthers. The league fined the Blackhawks $2 million, with $1 million directed to Chicago-area organizations that aid abuse victims.
In 2019 Bill Peters resigned as coach of the Calgary Flames after acknowledging he had directed racial slurs toward a player, Akim Aliu, when both were with Rockford (Ill.) of the American Hockey League. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly recently said the league had completed its investigation of Aliu’s allegations and had spoken to his representatives but Aliu’s attorney, Ben Meiselas, said via social media he had not heard from the NHL. Peters faced separate allegations that he had kicked and punched players in Carolina.
Troy Terry and Benoit-Oliver Groulx each had a goal and an assist, and John Gibson stopped 34 shots in the Ducks’ 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues.
Also in 2019 Mike Babcock, who was accused of verbal abuse in Toronto and Detroit, was fired as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Late that same year the Blackhawks suspended assistant coach Marc Crawford following accusations he had kicked two players and made homophobic comments to another during his previous coaching stops. He underwent therapy and was reinstated.
The NHL has instituted a hotline that allows players and other personnel to anonymously report abuse, but its use might be limited by peer pressure or players’ fear that their career will suffer if they speak up against those who hold power over their future.
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.