Flyers hire Gord Murphy as assistant coach

John Paddock. (Jordan M. Shayer/Staff file photo)

After moving to a number of different franchises throughout hockey, Gord Murphy is returning to the place where his career began.

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall announced on Wednesday that Murphy has been hired as an assistant coach to serve under Craig Berube

Murphy, 47, will coach the Flyers’ defense. He and Berube were teammates together for parts of three seasons, from 1988-1991. Murphy has been an assistant coach in the NHL since 2002 - most recently working with Florida under Kevin Dineen before he was fired on Nov. 8, 2013.

John Paddock, the Flyers’ assistant coach formerly in charge of defense, was relieved of his duties by the organization. Paddock, 60, served in a variety of roles with the club from 2008 until now, including as head coach of the Phantoms, assistant general manager and assistant coach.

The rest of the coaching staff remains unchanged: Ian Laperriere (forwards / penalty kill), Joe Mullen (power play, in-game coach from press box), Jeff Reese (goaltending) and Adam Patterson (video).

The move to fire Paddock, a well-respected hockey lifer who has worked in every imaginable facet of the game, came as a bit of a surprise. Paddock is particularly skilled in developing young players. His name is on the AHL’s Calder Cup five times. 

With the Phantoms, when he wasn’t parachuted in as temporary head coach, Paddock was always stuck in an in-between sort of role with the Phantoms being in upstate New York and his home in South Jersey.

Paddock would have had an ever bigger impact on the Phantoms this fall, as they finally move to the Lehigh Valley to skate in the sparkling new PPL Center. He was shuffled throughout the organization by former general manager Paul Holmgren, who has now been moved to team president. Removing Paddock seems to be one of Hextall’s first stamps on the organization since becoming GM on May 7.

“We’d like to thank John for being an integral part of our organization and we wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Hextall said in a statement.

A right-handed shooting defenseman, Murphy played 862 games in the NHL. He was drafted by the Flyers in the 9th round (No. 189 overall) in the 1985 draft. He won the 1988 Calder Cup with Hershey (with Paddock, coincidentally, as the head coach) before making his NHL debut the next fall. He was traded to Boston in 1992 in a deal that brought Garry Galley.

Upon his retirement in 2002 as a player, he immediately joined the fledgling Blue Jackets as an assistant coach, serving there until 2010. Along the way, he has worked with head coaches Ken Hitchcock, Claude Noel, Gerard Gallant, Dave King, Doug MacLean and Peter DeBoer in addition to Dineen.

“Gord brings a wealth of experience coaching defensemen at the NHL level,” Hextall said. “We are excited to have Gord on our staff and look forward to him working with our defensemen and the rest of our coaching staff.”

Murphy and Hextall were also teammates in Philadelphia.

“I’m very excited and really looking forward to the opportunity and challenge of working with the Flyers organization and with Craig Berube and his staff,” Murphy said.  “I couldn’t be more thrilled for this opportunity for myself and my family coming back to Philly. As a former player and now the last 11 years in my role as an assistant coach, I consider myself a good teacher with a good balance of experience. I really look forward to working with and mentoring the defensemen everyday by having them continue to improve and get the Flyers to where we all want to be.”

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