John Muckler, former Oilers coach and Stanley Cup champion, dies at 86

John Muckler, a former NHL coach and executive who was a part of five Stanley Cup winning teams with the Edmonton Oilers, has died at age 86.

The Oilers announced Muckler’s passing in a news release Monday night. Throughout his career, Muckler worked with several NHL organizations including the Oilers, Minnesota North Stars, Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators and Phoenix Coyotes.

No cause of death was given.

Muckler was part of the staff that put together the Oilers dynasty of the 1980s, joining Edmonton in 1981 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.

“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,” said Wayne Gretzky in a news release.

“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. Rest in peace, John, you will be missed.”

The Midland, Ont., native went on to coach the Sabres — where he was also general manager — and the Rangers. He was also general manager of the Senators for five years.

Muckler’s last worked in the NHL as senior advisor with the Coyotes in 2008.

Prior to coaching, Muckler played several seasons as a defenceman in the Eastern Hockey League.

 

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