The National Hockey League announced on Wednesday that Hockey Hall of Famer Jim Gregory has died at the age of 83.
A beloved man in the league, Gregory spent a decade as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, acquiring the likes of Darryl Sittler and Lanny McDonald.
When it came to importing talent from Europe, no one was better than Gregory, who signed most notably Hall-of-Fame defenceman Borje Salming out of Sweden.
Everyone around the league is deeply saddened by his passing. Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock is one of many to mourn his death.
“It is impossible to express the extent to which the National Hockey League family adored Jim Gregory and the loss we feel as a result of his passing,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “Jim was one of the first to welcome me to the NHL almost 27 years ago and I have treasured his friendship and relied upon his wisdom every day since. Nobody loved the game more. Nobody ever served it better. We will miss him terribly.”
Gregory held the reigns as a Leafs GM for 10 years, in which the team qualified for the playoffs on eight occasions, but he was let go after the 1979 season.
The legend joined the league office as its director of central scouting and worked his way up to senior vice president, hockey operations and supervision.
From 1998 to 2014, Gregory served as the chairman of the selection committee of the Hockey Hall of Fame, in which he was inducted himself as a builder in 2007.