Marlin Murray has carved out an unprecedented record of success with the Dauphin Kings and will get the chance to continue for years to come.
The 35-year-old Kings head coach/general manager signed a three-year contract extension on Tuesday with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League club through the end of the 2015-16 season. The Melita native and former member of the old Brandon University Bobcats hockey team said they have been working towards a new long-term deal for about a month and was happy to hammer out the final details.
"There’s obviously some stability there for three years and I’m happy to continue coaching here," said Murray, who is in his 10th season with the Kings, including seven as head coach. "For the majority of my time here, Darren Russell was the president and I owe him a lot. He stood by me through thick and thin and now he’s moved on elsewhere and I’ve got a new executive group led by Mike Csversko … and I’m fully confident it will be a good era as well."
Murray has made his mark on the Kings record book, coaching the most games and earning the most victories in franchise history and making the playoffs in six straight seasons.
With a career coaching record of 266-109-17, Murray holds the club record for most wins in a season (50). Murray also has three Sher-wood Division pennants in the past six seasons and has MJHL and Anavet Cup titles (2010) on his resume.
"Marlin has definitely proven himself over the past (10) years that he’s been here," said Csversko, who took over as club president this year. "His record stands for itself and we were just looking for some stability. With the Western Canadian championship being hosted in Dauphin (in 2014), it helps to not only recruit players, but it adds some stability and some credibility to your team … Players want to know who they will be playing for and we owe it to Marlin, too, to let him know what his future is going to be."
One of the longest serving coaches in the MJHL, Murray has toyed with the idea of moving up to the next level — he has a get-out clause in his contract if he does receive an opportunity — but said he is happy to stay put.
"I take pride in my work and day in, day out, I put in a solid effort here and to give this here up, it would be tough on me as well," said Murray, who had current Wheat Kings assistant coach David Anning serving as his assistant for two seasons from 2008-10. "But, I’ve had some interest in the WHL ranks, no doubt. There’s been a few calls here and there, but my wife is from here and we’re just starting a family here now and I am not just going to jump at the first, or any opportunity, just to say that quote-unquote, I coached at a higher level or in the WHL. And it’s got to make sense for myself and my family and obviously if that time comes, we’ll obviously look at it. But I’m happy here. This is where my home is … and it’s a good situation."
While he has had plenty of success, it hasn’t all been rosy for Murray, who was slapped with a 12-game suspension in the spring for an incident during a playoff game when he tossed sticks and water bottles at the referees on the ice, serving 11 of those games at the start of this season.
"Obviously it was a mistake on my behalf, but moving forward I think everybody was on the same page (in the organization)," Murray said. "If you judged me on a 90-second phase compared to the previous six, seven, eight years, you’ve got to look at the big picture as well …
"There’s been a couple of incidents I wish we could get back, but the big picture moving forward is we stuck together and we will continue to stick together … I mean, any time you spend 10 years with one organization in this day and age of junior hockey, you must be doing something right."
This season, Murray has guided a team that features a trio of former Brandon Wheat Kings — league scoring leader Jon Gaudet, Jesse Sinatynski and Dominick Favreau — to an impressive 21-7-2 record so far this season.