EDMONTON, Alberta — John Muckler, who coached four NHL teams and won five Stanley Cup championships with the Edmonton Oilers, has died. He was 86.

The Oilers confirmed Muckler’s death Monday night. No cause was given.

Muckler was part of the staff that put together the Oilers dynasty of the 1980s. He joined Edmonton in 1982 as an assistant coach under Glen Sather and won five Stanley Cups with the organization from 1984-90, the last one as head coach.

When the Midland, Ontario, native left Edmonton, he served as director of operations and head coach for the Buffalo Sabres from 1991-95. Muckler also was head coach of the New York Rangers from 1997-2000, and spent 35 games in charge of the 1968-69 Minnesota North Stars.

He became general manager of the Ottawa Senators in 2001 and helped build a team that reached the 2007 Stanley Cup final, where the Senators lost to Anaheim.

Muckler’s final NHL role was a senior adviser position with the Phoenix Coyotes in September 2008, working alongside then-coach Wayne Gretzky, who had a close relationship with Muckler from their time in Edmonton.

“He was tough, strict, but most importantly fair, and he helped lay the groundwork to make our team more accountable to each other which propelled us to become champions,” Gretzky said in a statement released by the Oilers. “A wonderful family man and great friend, he personally took my career to another level, and I will always cherish the hours we talked, from breaking down defenses to raising a family.”

Muckler finished with a career coaching record of 276-288-84. He also served as a coach for three NHL All-Star Games, as well as Canada’s 1984 and 1987 Canada Cup winning teams.

WILD: Jared Spurgeon’s bosses had some news deemed important enough to deliver in person, so GM Bill Guerin and Coach Dean Evason dropped by the Minnesota Wild defenseman’s house on the eve of training camp for a visit with the family of six.

Spurgeon’s 6-year-old daughter, Colbie, was skeptical. “She asked if he was firing me,” Spurgeon said.

No, dear, your dad is about the last player the Wild would get rid of. Guerin and Evason were there to formally name Spurgeon just the second full-time captain in team history.

“From the day I got this job, Spurge is the guy that I heard all about. He’s the guy that people in this organization gravitate towards. They love him,” said Guerin, in his second season with the Wild.

Spurgeon, who’s beginning his 11th season in the NHL, will replace Mikko Koivu, who signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets after 15 years with Minnesota.

The 5-foot-9, 167-pound Spurgeon was playing in juniors in the WHL when Minnesota signed him as an undrafted, undersized prospect at age 20. He’s starting a seven-year, $53 million contract extension this season, as the all-time franchise leader in blocked shots, hits, goals by a defenseman and several other categories. He’s second among all players in club history in games played.

KRAKEN: Former Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill was named assistant general manager to Ron Francis.

Francis also announced that longtime Chicago Blackhawks front office assistant Norm Maciver, 56, who won three Cups with that team in a 14-season stint in various roles, is joining the Kraken as player personnel director.


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