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Murray Armstrong, Legendary College Coach and Former NHL Player, Dies at 94

Dec 9, 2010 – 1:55 PM
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Bruce Ciskie

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Murray Armstrong, the coach who led the University of Denver to five of its first seven national championships, died Wednesday. He was 24 days short of his 95th birthday.

Armstrong was born in Saskatchewan, and made his NHL debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1937-38 season. He played for four NHL teams -- also suiting up with the New York Americans, Brooklyn Americans, and Detroit Red Wings. Armstrong played in 270 NHL games, scoring 67 goals and 188 points.

More than his NHL career, though, Armstrong will forever be remembered for his work as a coach at Denver.

He took over at the school in 1956, joining Denver less than a decade after the school started a varsity hockey program. He came from the Regina Pats, his hometown's junior team that he coached for around half a decade.

Armstrong didn't waste much time molding the Pioneers into a national contender. Denver won its first national championship in 1958, and Armstrong followed by leading DU to titles in 1960, 1961, 1968 and 1969. The 1960-61 Pioneers finished 30-1-1.

Hockey wasn't enough, and Armstrong also spent a lot of time golfing. He served for a time as DU's men's golf coach in addition to his hockey duties.

He retired in 1977 after more than 20 years of coaching. Armstrong won 460 games at Denver, placing him 23rd on the all-time wins list. He moved to Florida, where he continued golfing on a regular basis into his 90s.

Armstrong was inducted into the University of Denver Athletic Hall of Fame in its inaugural class of 1996. He was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.
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