As had been rumored as far back as last week, the Flyers made it official on Friday, naming former player/assistant/scout/head coach Terry Murray the head coach of the Adirondack Phantoms.
“We feel very fortunate to be able to bring Terry back to the Flyers organization as head coach of the Phantoms,” Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. “Terry brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, is an excellent teacher and a strong believer in the development process of young players.”
“I really appreciate the opportunity to come back to the Flyers organization and I’m really looking forward to the challenge that’s out there of coaching the Phantoms,” Murray added. “The youth playing down in the American Hockey League is a real important part of the organization. I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting back into the playoffs and helping these young players develop and become NHL players as quickly as possible.”
Murray, 61, returns to the Flyers organization for his third tour of duty as a coach. He most recently worked in the Los Angeles Kings organization, where he was the head coach from the start of the 2008-09 season through December 2011. Prior to joining the Kings, Murray was an assistant coach for four seasons from 2003-04; 2005-2008, first under Ken Hitchcock and then for John Stevens.
Murray memorably served as bench boss for the Orange and Black from 1994 through 1997, a brief but explosive era marked by the ascension of Eric Lindros and the “Legion of Doom,” featuring linemates John LeClair and Mikael Renberg. He guided the Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup Final but lost in a controversial four-game sweep. All told, the Shawville, Quebec native posted a record of 118-64-30 in 212 regular-season games behind the bench in Philadelphia.
As a player, Murray saw eight seasons of NHL action from 1972 to 1982. He played 115 games for the Flyers in three separate stints (1975-77, 1978-79, 1980-81) He also recorded 196 points in 363 AHL games.
In another move which came across as less of a surprise, Holmgren also announced that Ian Laperriere has been officially added to the front office, named Director of Player Development.
“We are pleased to add Ian to our staff as Director of Player Development,” Holmgren said. “Ian will work closely with all of our young prospects in the system from skill development to fitness to nutrition. We feel that Ian’s experiences and enthusiasm for life and the game of hockey make him the perfect man for this important role.”
The 38-year-old retired shortly after the completion of the Stanley Cup Finals, following a career that saw him play 1,083 games over 16 NHL seasons. He signed with the Flyers as a free agent from Colorado prior to the 2009-10 season and appeared in all 82 games that year, as well as 13 playoff games as Philly advanced to the Finals before losing to Chicago.
Taking the Flyers’ ethos to heart and into action cost the Quebec native the last two NHL campaigns, however. The after-effects of taking a Paul Martin slap shot to the face during the first round of the 2010 playoffs against the Devils cause his playing days to be cut short, but Laperriere remained active within the organization working with the club’s prospects and doing television analysis on Comcast SportsNet.
In a rare exception to the rule, Laperriere won the Bill Masterton Trophy for his perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey last June despite not suiting up in the year he was selected.
“It’s a job that suits me well,” Laperriere, a resident of Haddonfield, New Jersey, said. “It’s one of those jobs that you need a relationship with the young guys and you need to have some experience, and I think I have both. I’ve always been able to relate well with anybody, from 18 year old kids to 40-year-old veterans – it’s always been one of my strengths, so I’m going to use that with these young guys. I’ll do the best I can to help all our prospects be successful. It’s a challenge for me and I’m looking forward to it.”