|Born: March 3, 1951 in Gladstone, Manitoba, Canada
Gold. Gold. Gold. Not too many coaches can put that on their World Championship résumé. In fact, since the World Championship became an annual event in 1930, only one coach not from the Soviet Union has ever coached his team to three gold medals at the Worlds Andy Murray.
But while Viktor Tikhonov, Boris Kulagin, Arkadi Chernyshev, and Anatoli Tarasov combined to win more than Murray, they did so with teams that were pretty similar from year to year. Not so Murray. As coach of Team Canada, he had three completely different rosters when he took the country to gold in 1997, 2003, and 2007.
In his international coaching appearances, he was a master of keeping his game plan simple, and his vast knowledge of the European game, the larger ice, the different refereeing, the adjusting to foreign cultures, were all vital in bringing the team together and creating a winning atmosphere.
Not since another IIHF Hall of Famer, the great Dave King, did Team Canada have a coach who understood the international game so well as Andy Murray.
A player who was never going to be good enough to make the NHL, he turned to coaching early while in Brandon, Manitoba, eventually coaching Brandon University. From there Murray ventured to Switzerland, his first of several journeys back and forth across the Atlantic.
Murray was an assistant for a year in the AHL and then moved up to the same position with three NHL teams over a six-year period, but in 1994 he returned to Europe, first back in Switzerland and then in Germany. It was during this five-year stretch that he got his first chance to coach Team Canada, at the 1997 Worlds in Finland. His roster included young players such as Jarome Iginla, Chris Pronger, and Anson Carter, but Murray got the team to play as a group, and it was as a group it succeeded.
Canada won the best-of-three finals with a 2-1 win over Sweden in the decisive game, giving the country its second gold in four years after a 33-year drought. It was three of the most intense World Championship games ever played.
Murray coached Canada again the next year to a disappointing sixth place finish, and in 1999 he returned to the NHL to coach the Los Angeles Kings for what would prove to be a six-year stint. In 2003, though, the Kings were out of the playoff race early and he was again invited to coach Canada at the Worlds.
This time, his quickly-crafted roster included a new generation of young stars, notably Eric Brewer, Dany Heatley, and Ryan Smyth. But two players who were with Murray in 1997 were key to gold in 2003 goalie Sean Burke and forward Anson Carter. The gold medal game, against Sweden again, went to overtime, which was played four-on-four for the first time. Carter scored the winner on a wraparound, a goal that took ten tense minutes of video review to confirm.
In 2007, Murray was again available for Canada. Again he had a new roster to work with, but it was probably his most talented as well Jonathan Toews, Rick Nash, Eric and Jordan Staal, Dion Phaneuf. Canada blazed through the tournament, winning all nine games and outscoring the opposition 41-21. Murray had won his hat trick of gold medals and a place in IIHF history. He is the ninth Canadian Builder and 23rd Canadian overall to enter the IIHF Hall of Fame.