Edward John “EJ” McGuire, Vice President of the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting Bureau and one of the most beloved and respected men in hockey, died of cancer on Thursday at the age of 58.
McGuire, who became known to NHL fans all over the world over the past several years in his position as the league's top scout, had deep connections to the Rangers organization. He served as the first coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack after the team became the Blueshirts' AHL affiliate in 1997 and later worked as a pro scout for the team during the 1999-00 season.
|Longtime NHL coach and scout E.J. McGuire, who spent three seasons in the Rangers organization from 1997 to 2000, passed away on Thursday. |
As head coach of the Wolf Pack, McGuire led Hartford to Calder Cup playoff appearances in both 1998 and 1999, going 81-55-17 as Hartford's coach. He also took the inaugural Wolf Pack team all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Prior to coaching at Hartford, McGuire had served as an NHL assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers from 1985 to 1988 and twice went to the Stanley Cup Finals. He later served as a Chicago Blackhawks assistant under head coach Mike Keenan from 1988 to 1991 and as an Ottawa Senators assistant from the Sens' inaugural 1992-93 season though the 1995 lockout-shortened season.
Additional coaching experience came at the helm of the AHL's Maine Mariners in 1991-92 and as an assistant coach with Rochester in the early 1980s, where he won the Calder Cup with Keenan as his head coach in 1983.
After nearly 15 years in the pros, McGuire went on to make a name for himself in the Canadian major-junior ranks, going 80-41-11 over two seasons with the Guelph Storm and taking Guelph to the 1996 Memorial Cup tournament in his first year there. One of his top players at Guelph was current NHLer and former Rangers first-round draft pick Manny Malhotra.
McGuire had been director of Central Scouting since 2005. He appeared in countless scouting videos made available to fans before each year's draft.
"The National Hockey League was privileged to benefit from EJ's expertise and enthusiasm, both of which were limitless,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “EJ loved scouting games and loved the internal debates over the strengths and weaknesses of Entry Draft prospects. The way he ran Central Scouting made it vitally important to every one of our Clubs."
McGuire is survived by his wife, Terry, and their daughters, Jacqueline and Erin.
"EJ was a colleague, a friend and a mentor who influenced and enriched the hockey lives of thousands of players, coaches, parents and administrators," said Colin Campbell, NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and a former Rangers coach. "As a coach, he combined attention to detail with innovation to teach the game to players at all levels -- from teenage, college and junior players to the elite professionals in the NHL. As Vice President of Central Scouting and a member of the Hockey Operations Department, he brought wisdom, guidance and unparalleled commitment to the game to advance it on so many levels. "