Somewhat lost with the death of Pat Quinn yesterday was the passing of Murray Oliver, who died Sunday, Nov. 23 at age 77. Oliver suffered a fatal heart attack in Edina, Minn., where he resided.
In a career that spanned 17 NHL seasons, Oliver suited up for 1,127 games spread between the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Minnesota North Stars.
In his career, Oliver tallied 274 goals and 728 points, but never received any individual accolades. His closest brush with an end-of-season award came in his rookie season, when, as a member of the Detroit Red Wings, Oliver scored 20 goals and 39 points in finishing second in Calder Trophy voting to Chicago’s Bill Hay.
During his career, Oliver suited up alongside NHL greats such as Gordie Howe, Johnny Bucyk, and Bobby Orr.
From 1962-63 until 1967-68, Oliver was a five-time all-star, missing only the 1966 edition of the showcase. A playmaking center, he finished in the top 10 in the NHL for assists three times over that span, including a career high 44 in 1963-64, a year in which he also set a career high for points with 68.
A consistent scorer, five times throughout his career Oliver managed at least 20 goals. During his time in Minnesota, Oliver set a career high with 27 markers in 1971-72.
Oliver is likely best remembered for his days as a North Star, where he played for five seasons and went on to become an assistant coach for nine seasons, including a brief stint as head coach for the final 36 games of the 1982-83 campaign.
Oliver’s deepest run into the playoffs came in 1970-71 when his North Stars, led by J.P. Parise, Danny Grant, Bill Goldsworthy, and Jude Drouin, made it to the conference final, losing in six games to eventual Stanley Cup champion Montreal.
Oliver’s last stop in hockey was as a scout for the Vancouver Canucks. Later, he would be named their director of pro scouting before retiring from his post.