BORN: October 1, 1892
DIED: February 13, 1961
TEAMS/ASSOCIATIONS: Sault Ste. Marie, Seattle Metropolitans, Calgary Tigers, Tulsa Oilers
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan was an early spawning ground for hockey in the United States. The first professional hockey league in the world, the International League, was even centered there under the guidance of United States Hockey Hall of Fame enshrinee Dr. J.L. (Doc) Gibson. It was under such influence that native American greats such as Joe Linder, Nick Kahler, Taffy Abel, and "Muzz" Murray were developed.
"Muzz" Murray was only the second American developed player to participate in the Stanley Cup finals when he played for the Seattle Metropolitans in the historic 1919 series against the Montreal Canadians. (The series was suspended at 2-2-1 due to an influenza epidemic.) Murray was the third leading scorer in the series and subsequently appeared in the 1920 finals against Ottawa. After one more season with Seattle, he closed his professional career with Calgary of the Western Canada League in 1922.
He later played briefly for Tulsa in the American Hockey Association. It was Murray's brilliant play as a cover point (defenseman) with Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, of the American Amateur Hockey Association, that brought him to pro hockey in the Pacific Coast League. Between 1912-1918, playing in the Western Division of the Association, then the highest level of competition in the United States, Murray was a consistent standout.
An early press account said of him: "Muzz" Murray with his energetic outburst of speed and his remarkable elusive power starred for the Soo. "Muzz" proved the effectiveness of his rushes by scoring one of the Soo's goals after bringing the puck the entire length of the rink and passing all the Calumet players." Murray captained the 1915 Soo team to the Western Division championship before losing to Cleveland in the finals. He was also named to the All-Western team of the American Hockey Association for that season.
The Michigan native was known as both a rough and tumble player as well as a scorer. His spirit, fire and drive made him a team leader. Another early writer noted this when he said: "Muzz" Murray took an ugly slide into the boards striking his face on the side. His nose was injured and also his head. Another time he got a jab in the mouth with a stick, but none of these retarded his playing in the least."
Murray continued playing local senior amateur hockey until he was nearly 60-years-old, while serving the city of Sault Ste. Marie as Superintendent of Streets. He also took an active role in the development of youth hockey in his hometown as well.