SHAWVILLE June 13, 2019
On June 13, hundreds of local residents and notable outsiders crowded the gymnasium at Dr. S.E. McDowell Elementary in Shawville for a special celebration in honour of a local icon.
A plan in the making for over a year, the event served to commemorate the legacy of the late Bryan Murray and his contributions to the school and the community by naming the school’s gym after him.
Before serving as the longtime Head Coach and General Manager of the Ottawa Senators, Murray got his feet wet as a well-respected educator of life and sport during his time as the school’s gym teacher back in the 1960s and 70s.
Among those present for the ceremony were a number of individuals who played significant roles in Murray’s life including his wife Geri Murray, his nephew Tim Murray and current Ottawa Senators General Manager Pierre Dorion among others.
Along with Dorion, several members of the Ottawa Senators front office staff were also present including Assistant General Manager Peter MacTavish, recently hired head coach D.J. Smith and Hockey Data Analyst Tim Pattison.
A number of former Sens players made the trip to Shawville as well, including Chris Kelly, Shean Donovan and even longtime Sens captain and locally acclaimed legend Daniel Alfredsson.
The ceremony began with a rendition of O Canada sung by hundreds of McDowell students packing every bit of space in the gallery on the second floor of the gym while the rest of the folks accompanied them in harmony.
Following the anthem, the event consisted of six speeches, including an introduction from the school’s principal Anne Valcov, a string of humorous first-hand stories from one of Murray’s childhood friends Ivan Saunders and a biography of Murray’s life created by McDowell grade five and six French immersion students read in French and English by students Destinee Boisvert and Judy Poirier respectively.
For Dorion, who capped off the speeches with a heart-felt deliverance on behalf of the Sens, it was very important for himself and members of the organization as well as former players to attend the event considering the effect Murray had on their growth as people and professionals in the NHL.
“We all felt Bryan was one of the best people we’ve worked with,” said Dorion. “For us, he was a teacher, he was mentor, he taught us how to be good people, be good hockey people. He taught a lot of us how to do our craft as well as we could. So for us, there was nothing in the world that would prevent us from being here today.”
To wrap up the ceremony in good fashion, Murray’s beloved wife Geri cut the ribbon alongside a couple of students in front of the large crowd to make the honour official.
The new name of the gym, The Bryan Murray Memorial Gymnasium, is now proudly displayed in black cursive font above the entrance of the gym.
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a small snack with doughnuts from the Pontiac Home Bakery along with coffee, iced tea and lemonade.
However, a large portion of the crowd instantly rushed towards the former Sens captain thirsty to get their jerseys, pieces of paper or memorabilia autographed and perhaps a little face time while they were at it.
For Alfredsson, who’s entrance left almost every person in the room completely star struck, the opportunity to attend the event was an honour that he couldn’t pass on. Extremely happy for his former coach, Alfredsson remembers Murray as a tremendous teacher who was always proud of his roots.
“He was a phenomenal teacher for a lot of people that I’ve met that had him either in school or in pro sports,” said Alfredsson. “I think it’s great for the community.
“He always talked very warmly about Shawville, always kept coming back here every summer and this would have meant a lot to him,” he added. “I’m sure it means a lot to Geri his wife and his children.”
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