Former Edmonton Oilers coach John Muckler, who won five Stanley Cups with the franchise, died on Monday. He was 86. As of Tuesday morning, no cause of death has been announced.
“On behalf of the Edmonton Oilers organization and John’s many friends in the game of hockey, I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to Audrey and the entire Muckler family,” former Oilers star Wayne Gretzky said in a statement. “When you have 22 pretty good hockey players and have enjoyed some success it’s hard imagine that the addition of an Associate Coach would be the final piece to getting the Edmonton Oilers to the top of the mountain, but that’s exactly what happened when John joined the team.”
Muckler originally joined the Oilers coaching staff as an assistant coach under Glen Sather in 1982. He would go on to win five Stanley Cups with the franchise from 1984 to 1990, including the final one in 1990 as the team’s head coach.
Following the 1984-85 season, Muckler began splitting coaching duties with Sather. In 1989, Sather ended up giving up his coaching duties and Muckler was promoted to head coach. Two years later, Muckler left Edmonton and ended up serving as the head coach and director of operations for the Buffalo Sabres until 1995. Following his stint with the Sabres, Muckler became the head coach of the New York Rangers from 1997 until 2000.
In his later years, Muckler was the general manager of the Ottawa Senators from 2001 until 2007. The Ontario native helped build the 2007 Senators team that reached the Stanley Cup Finals, before losing to the Anaheim Ducks.
His final post was a senior adviser position with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2008 while Gretzky served as the team’s head coach.