Late last night the Edmonton Oilers announced the passing out former NHL coach and general manager John Muckler at age 86.
Muckler rose to prominence as a part of the Oilers during their heyday of the 1980s. He first served as an assistant coach under Glen Sather and then ended up moving into the head coaching role. He ultimately moved on to coach and manage with the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers. He closed out his NHL career as GM of the Ottawa Senators, leading them to a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2007.
One of Muckler's closest friends, Wayne Gretzky released a statement on the news:
"On behalf of the Edmonton Oilers organization and John's many friends in the game of hockey, I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to Audrey and the entire Muckler family. When you have 22 pretty good hockey players and have enjoyed some success it's hard imagine that the addition of an Associate Coach would be the final piece to getting the Edmonton Oilers to the top of the mountain, but that's exactly what happened when John joined the team.
He was tough, strict, but most importantly fair, and he helped lay the groundwork to make our team more accountable to each other which propelled us to become champions. A wonderful family man and great friend, he personally took my career to another level, and I will always cherish the hours we talked, from breaking down defenses to raising a family. Rest in peace, John, you will be missed."
Today the hockey world lost one of the true good guys of the spot.
RIP, John. Gone, but never forgotten.