Former hockey forward Mike Murray ’03 joins Minnesota Wild staff

by Will Ennis and Sara McClanahan | 10/23/20 2:00am

michael-murray
Source: Courtesy of Mike Murray

Former Dartmouth men’s hockey forward Mike Murray ’03 was appointed to the role of assistant to the general manager of the Minnesota Wild, the NHL team announced earlier this month.

Prior to his new appointment, Murray spent the last nine years working in hockey operations at the American Hockey League, the first four years of which he served as vice president and the remaining five years as executive vice president. In his position with the Wild, Murray will run Minnesota’s day-to-day operations, helping with contract negotiations, player development and scouting. He will also assist with the day-to-day work of the Wild’s AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild.

Murray said that part of why he wanted to advance his career in hockey operations was his “competitive fire” and the opportunity to work toward a championship as part of a team.

“I’m really looking forward ... to [being] on the team side of things and being able to pursue a Stanley Cup championship,” Murray said. He added that he was excited to be “a part of building the team and hopefully [see] that team succeed.”

In his time at Dartmouth, Murray played 125 games — the second most in Big Green history at the time of his graduation — and scored 71 points, 28 of which came in his senior season.

Bob Gaudet ’81, who coached men’s hockey for 23 years until his recent retirement, praised Murray’s “cerebral” approach to the game and his passion for hockey.

“He was a guy that you really could count on,” Gaudet said. “He had a good offensive instinct, but [was] really solid defensively, [a] very reliable player … and a really good guy too.” 

Hockey was a major part of Murray’s life long before his time at Dartmouth. Murray grew up in Dover, Massachusetts, where hockey ran in his family. His father, Bob Murray, played for Boston University when they won the 1971 and 1972 NCAA championships.

“My older brother played, I played, my younger brother played,” Murray said. “Hockey has always been a part of my life.”

Following his career at Dartmouth, Murray played professionally for two years before transitioning to a career in hockey operations. Murray said he played hockey in the “low minors” before realizing “that was as far as it was going to take [him] on the ice.”

After his time playing the game, Murray earned a law degree at Suffolk University and took a job in hockey operations in the ECHL office, one tier below the AHL. Three years later, he joined the AHL league office, where he remained for nine years until earning the position with the Minnesota Wild.

Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin said that he knew Murray long before hiring him. Murray's father was Guerin’s NHL agent from the time he was 18 years old through his retirement. He said that they have had a “really good” relationship for the past 10 or so years.

“In this business you can never have too many smart people around you, and between [Murray’s] education and his experience in the hockey world, he also played the game,” Guerin said. “He’s got a lot of different experiences to offer.”

Guerin said that Murray’s experience on the league side of the game will greatly benefit him and the team. Guerin touched on the management-level perspective of the league that Murray offers and his close understanding of “what leagues will be thinking” in returning from COVID-19 as things that will particularly help Murray guide the team. 

“When I talked to Dave Andrews, who is the commissioner of the American Hockey League, he just said such great things about Mike and that he was one of the best administrators, if not the best, that he’s ever had,” Guerin said.

Gaudet and first-year head coach Reid Cashman both said that Murray could inspire and offer aid to current players, especially those who might want to enter the realm of professional hockey.

“Any time an 18 to 23 year old can look and see what a graduate from 15 or 20 or 25 years ago is doing, it gives them a little bit of a focal point of what their potential may be if they maximize who they are as people,” Cashman said.

Gaudet echoed Cashman’s sentiments, referencing Murray’s long-time friendship with Dartmouth hockey and his mentorship of current players.

“I think [Murray] would be a good role model for guys that want to get into the business,” Gaudet said. “I think that that's something guys can aspire to, to stay in a sport that they love.”

Correction appended (October 23, 2020): A previous version of this article referred to the ECHL as the East Coast Hockey League, which was its name from its inception in 1998 until 2003. The article has been updated to reflect the correct name of the league.