Former Buffalo Sabres GM, head coach John Muckler dies at 86

Jan 5, 2021

Former Buffalo Sabres General Manager and Head Coach John Muckler has died. He was 86.

Muckler coached four four NHL teams and won five Stanley Cup championships with the Edmonton Oilers over a 50-year career. The Oilers confirmed Muckler's death Monday night. No cause was given.

"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," said hockey great and former Oiler Wayne Gretzky in a news release. "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 defences to raising a family. Rest in peace, John, you will be missed."

John Muckler (center) won five Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers before joining the Buffalo Sabres in 1991.
Credit Edmonton Oilers

Muckler was part of the staff that put together the Oilers dynasty of the 1980s. He joined Edmonton in 1981 as an assistant coach under Glen Sather and won five Stanley Cups with the organization from 1984-90, the last one as head coach.

The Midland, ON native went on to help build the Buffalo Sabres into a contender, joining the team from 1991-1995. Over four seasons and 268 games, he recorded 125 wins, 109 losses and 34 ties.

Credit Buffalo Sabres / Twitter

Muckler also coached the New York Rangers and Minnesota North Stars, finishing with a career record of 276-288-84. He also served as a coach for three NHL All-Star Games, as well as Team Canada's 1984 and 1987 Canada Cup-winning teams.

He later held a front office position with the Ottawa Senators and last worked as senior advisor with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2008. Prior to coaching, Muckler played several seasons as a defenseman in the Eastern Hockey League.