After nine seasons as the Ottawa Senators general manager and an NHL career that’s stretched for more than three decades, Bryan Murray announced Sunday morning he’s stepping down to take an advisory role with the team.
Murray, who has been battling cancer, will be replaced in the GM seat by Ottawa native Pierre Dorion, the Senators assistant general manager.
He will stay on as the team’s senior hockey advisor role, the team announced.
“I’m leaving after a disappointing year, and I think that’s the hardest part,” Murray said.
Battling colon cancer
Murray, 73, was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in June 2014, although his doctors believe that he had been living with the disease for years.
Last spring, Murray indicated that he would likely be stepping down as the Senators GM when his contract expired after the 2015-2016 NHL season.
The Shawville, Que., native took over the general manager position midway through the 2007-08 season. Prior to joining the Sens front office, Murray spent two-plus seasons as the team’s head coach.
The 2015-16 season marked his 34th consecutive season in the NHL — a career that has also included stints with Washington, Detroit, Florida and Anaheim.
Murray said Sunday that while his doctors hadn’t pressured him to take a step back, he was aware of the time the Senators GM job had “taken away from my family.”
“Putting up with me, wanting to be the young man still in hockey — I just felt after much discussion it was time to pull the plug,” Murray said.
New GM is former top scout
Dorion has been with the Senators since 2007 and served as the team’s director of player personnel and its chief amateur scout before being promoted to assistant GM in 2014.
Before joining the club, Dorion spent 11 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens as a scouting coordinator and the team’s chief scout, as well as two seasons with the New York Rangers.
At Sunday’s press conference, Dorion acknowledged the fact the Senators missed the playoffs but said the team had a solid core, pointing to goaltender Craig Anderson and Norris Trophy contender Erik Karlsson.
Dorion added, however, that “anyone who falls under the umbrella of hockey in this organization will be evaluated.”
“I know this won’t be an easy job. I’m confident in my abilities but I know how hard my staff and me will have to work to get back to our winning ways,” he said.
“Not making the playoffs was simply unacceptable.”
The Senators finished the 2015-16 season with a 38-35-9 record — eight points out of a playoff spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
Trevor Pritchard, CBC News.
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