Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray is in the midst of battling Stage 4 cancer that began in his colon and has since spread to his lungs and liver. He is answering a bleak future by carrying on every day as normally as he can, and in doing so, he's become a model for anyone facing adversity. But the 72-year-old veteran NHL executive is realistic enough to know his days running the franchise are nearing an end – most likely at the conclusion of the current season – and to the credit of Sens owner Eugene Melnyk, Murray has been given free reign to select his successor.
In a moving interview with the Ottawa Citizen'sWayne Scanlan, Murray said that, because of his condition, he'll likely resign as Sens GM this summer, but added that Melnynk is giving him the chance to decide on the best person to replace him.
"I think I've got to take a look at it at the end of this year," Murray said of stepping down. "All Eugene said to me was, 'You're going to pick the next guy, Bryan. Work with me on it, but you come up with when you're going to transfer it over.'"
Murray signed a contract extension with the team in January of 2014, but revealed last summer he'd been diagnosed with colon cancer – and in November, he revealed how widely the disease had spread through his body and how he was making the most out of the time he has left. He expects to remain part of the Senators organization in a consultant's role when he does step away from the GM's role. And although the team is struggling this season and is unlikely to make the playoffs, he's hopeful better days for the franchise are ahead.
We all hope Murray is here for a long time to see the Senators make that jump back into elite Stanley Cup contender position, but the selfless manner in which he's conducting himself during these tough days makes you appreciate the character of the man more than anything and root for him even harder to beat the odds.
"I'm real proud of this group and the people we have," Murray said. “I see a young team that’s going to be pretty good. So I have real interest in doing the right thing for them...the day that I leave, I want the team to be in good order, and competitive, and have a chance to be a really bright-light team in the future. It doesn’t have to be during my time.”