Some sad Calgary Flames news to share: longtime Calgary Flames trainer Jim “Bearcat” Murray has passed away at the age of 89. His passing was first reported by Sportsnet’s Eric Francis and confirmed by the club on Tuesday morning.
A fixture in the local sports community, Murray worked his way up through local hockey. He served on the staffs of the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Centennials and Wranglers, with the World Hockey Association’s Calgary Cowboys, and worked for spells with the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders.
When the Flames arrived from Atlanta in 1980, Murray quickly caught on with them as head athletic trainer, a position he held until his retirement in 1996. If you watched the Flames throughout their breakthrough in the 1980s, you probably saw Murray’s mustache and trademark grin more consistently behind the bench than any other member of the Flames staff, and he would often be seen sprinting out at stoppages to check on injured Flames players. His name is etched on the Stanley Cup as part of the club that won the 1988-89 championship. Since his retirement, he’s been a fixture at community events in the Okotoks area and a regular face at Flames alumni events.
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Simply put: Murray defined Calgary hockey for a couple generations of hockey fans, spanning the era before the NHL’s arrival and the initial run of Flames success.
Our condolences go out to Murray’s family and friends.