The news is hardly surprising to those who’ve followed the franchise, as a shake-up in the front office was supposedly in the works after a disappointing season.
The Senators made the announcement at a press conference on Sunday, calling it a “significant hockey announcement.”
Murray will continue to operate as part of the Senators as a senior advisor, while Pierre Dorion will become the seventh general manager in franchise history.
Dorion has 20 years of NHL experience and has spent nine years working with Murray. He was promoted to the position of assistant general manager along with Randy Lee in 2014. Prior to that, Dorion was the director of player personnel. In other words, he knows the terrain.
Prior to that, he spent 11 seasons with the Habs as an amateur scout and put in two years with the New York Rangers.
Murray has had an extensive career, starting with the Washington Capitals. He elevated that franchise to their first playoff berths and won the Jack Adams Award in 1984. He was fired halfway through the 1989-1990 season and headed to Detroit where he served as the coach and general manager.
When the Red Wings hired Scotty Bowman as head coach in 1993-1994, Murray remained as the general manager until season’s end.
Next up was Florida, where he was appointed as the general manager of the expansion franchise in 1994. He was named the NHL’s Executive of the Year in 1996 after leading them to the Stanley Cup Finals.
After Florida came Anaheim, where he again served as coach and general manager in varying intervals. And once again, he led the team to the promised land before he resigned to join the Senators as head coach following the 2003-2004 season.
Murray picked up 600 wins, becoming the fifth coach to do so, in 2007. All the while, major playoff success eluded him behind the bench. He was promoted to the general manager post of the Senators in 2007 after the firing of John Muckler and handled a revolving door of coaches, often assuming the position again himself.
In November of 2014, Murray announced that he’d been diagnosed with Stage Four colon cancer. It had spread to the liver and lungs.
The Senators now find themselves in need of a boost and Dorion should be capable of providing a mostly seamless transition. Having Murray on as advisor will help a great deal, too, and there will be some significant decisions to come. Among the most pertinent, head coach Dave Cameron’s future will be addressed one way or another.