Terry Murray hired as Phantoms coach

Terry Murray was 118-64-30 behind the Flyers' bench from 1994-97. He also played for the team. (File photo)

In an effort to bolster their lacking farm system, the Flyers made two important hires on Friday.

For one, the Flyers announced that former NHL head coach Terry Murray, who has amassed 499 career wins, is the new head coach of the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms.

Ian Laperriere, who retired earlier in June after an 18-year NHL career, will officially assume the full-time post of Director of Player Development to aid in skill, fitness and nutrition development of prospects.

Murray’s hiring was first reported on Saturday. Murray, 61, is back for his fifth tour of duty with the Flyers organization, including two as a player and now three as a coach.

Murray has not coached in the AHL since 1989. His 1,012 NHL games coached make him (by far) the most experienced to ever coach in the league.

“We feel very fortunate to be able to bring Terry back to the Flyers organization as head coach of the Phantoms,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said in a statement.  “Terry brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, is an excellent teacher and a strong believer in the development process of young players.”

The Flyers have been looking for a steadying influence for their top minor league affiliate, who will be playing under their fourth head coach in four seasons since moving from Philadelphia to Glens Falls, N.Y.

The Phantoms have yet to make the Calder Cup playoffs since moving in 2009. Joe Paterson was fired in May after bringing the talent-depleted Phantoms to the brink of the playoffs.

Many of the team’s top players, including Marc-Andre Bourdon, Erik Gustafsson, Zac Rinaldo, and Harry Zolnierczyk were plucked by the Flyers throughout the season.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to come back to the Flyers organization and I’m really looking forward to the challenge that’s out there of coaching the Phantoms,” Murray said.  “The youth playing down in the American Hockey League is a real important part of the organization.  I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting back into the playoffs and helping these young players develop and become NHL players as quickly as possible.” 

Murray was fired by the Los Angeles Kings on Dec. 12, 2011. He was replaced by Darryl Sutter, who guided the Kings to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Murray will still receive a Stanley Cup ring for his service to the organization.

Murray, who was an assistant coach under Ken Hitchcock and John Stevens, left the Flyers in 2008 to go to the Kings. He was also the Flyers’ head coach from 1994-1997. Murray also coached in Florida (1998-2001) and Washington (1989-1994).

Murray has not coached in the AHL since 1989, when he was with the now-defunct Baltimore Skipjacks. He certainly has not coached in a remote outpost like Glens Falls, the smallest market in the AHL, at any point in his career.

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