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Former NHL coach and Stanley Cup winner John Muckler dies at 86

EDMONTON — Former NHL coach and Stanley Cup winner John Muckler has died. He was 86.

The Edmonton Oilers confirmed Muckler’s death Monday night. No cause of death was given.

Muckler was part of the staff that put together the Oilers dynasty of the 1980s, joining Edmonton in ‘82 as an assistant coach under Glen Sather before going on to win five Stanley Cups with the organization between ‘84 and 1990 — the last one as head coach.

The Midland, Ont., native left Edmonton and served as director of operations and head coach with the Buffalo Sabres from ‘91 to ‘95, and as head coach of the New York Rangers from ‘97 to 2000.

He became the Ottawa Senators general manager in 2001, and helped build a squad that reached the 2007 Stanley Cup final, where they fell to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Muckler’s final NHL role was a senior advisor position with the Phoenix Coyotes in September 2008, working alongside then coach Wayne Gretzky, who grew a relationship with Muckler in Edmonton.

“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,” Gretzky said in a statement released by the Oilers.

“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 defences to raising a family.”

Muckler also coached the 1968-69 Minnesota North Stars and finished his coaching career with a 276–288–84 record.

He served as a coach for three NHL All-Star Games as well as Canada’s ‘84 and ‘87 Canada Cup winning teams.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 4, 2021.

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The Canadian Press

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