Old scout still loves the game

December 15, 2021

He is 70 years old and a cheerful, delightful fellow with plenty of colourful stories to tell from a lifetime in amateur hockey. And besides that, good guy Charly Murray still has much to offer in terms of time, experience, knowledge and a genuine love for the game, especially at the under 18, junior and college levels.

Now helping out with his hometown Sault College Cougars — and part of their 2019 American Collegiate Hockey Association national championship team — Murray has spent parts of six decades in the game in coaching and player personnel roles.

Known for having a keen eye for identifying talent and for his loyalty and promotion of players that he has scouted and recruited, Murray has also performed a key role in the success of a number of Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League teams over the years.

His lengthy NOJHL gigs have included working for the Soo Thunderbirds, Soo Eagles, Blind River Beavers, Cochrane Crunch and the erstwhile Northern Michigan Black Bears and Elliot Lake Bobcats.

To be sure, there are few in the junior game with the overall scouting/player advancement pedigree that Murray has, having helped send dozens of players on to higher levels of hockey over the years, in particular the American college ranks.

It is worth noting that most of the coaching and scouting work that Murray — who is a retired steelworker — has done over the years has been on a voluntary basis or for very little renumeration. And there have been many seasons when Murray would spend winter nights in cold rinks with renumeration being in the form of a team jacket and hat.

“I never, ever did this for the money,” the affable Murray relayed on a recent edition of the Hockey North Show that airs on local radio station Eagle 95.1. “It has always been about the kids for me … and it always will be.”

With countless friendships and contacts having been made over the years, Murray remains a story-telling, joke-cracking icon of sorts throughout northern Ontario and Northern Michigan. Teams gravitate towards him because of his knowledge and insight — but it is often Murray himself reaching out to teams about players who range from exceptional to ones who may be flying under the radar.

“I think any young man who wants to play and who has a passion for the game at least deserves an opportunity to be looked at by a coach or a team,” Murray said firmly. “Too many teams only want to hear about the star players.”

Showing few signs of slowing down with age, Murray — who is affectionately known to his hockey friends as the “Old Goat” — remains in touch with the game either by in-person contact or by scouting players and teams via TV and video.

Sharp as a tack and with a memory that is startling, Murray said he is enjoying working with manager Mark Hebert and head coach Mike Hall and staff with the Sault College men’s team. He also keenly follows the NOJHL and the Superior International Jr. Hockey League — and one gets the impression that he would be open to working for a junior team while retaining his role at Sault College.

Married to his wife, Debbie, for 50 years and a father, grand father and great grand father, Murray loves to talk about his family.

“I am not sure how and why Debbie has put up with me for all of these years,” Murray is fond of saying, with his trademark chuckle. “I guess she just got used to me being around.”

Always but a phone call or a message away for a chat about hockey — be it past or present times — Murray remains a scout of old school values who is very much in tune with today’s game.

“I have been in and around hockey my whole life and I have no plans of giving up my involvement,” Murray noted. “Debbie has always been supportive of what I do … she knows how passionate I am about the game and the kids and the good people who are involved.”

(photo by Bob Davies)

What you think about “Old scout still loves the game”

  1. I certainly appreciate the article Randy and my love of the game is with similar people who are in the game that have shown me the correct way of dealing with hockey issues either through managing, coaching, scouting and all else that makes an organization 1st class.
    I have had the privilege over the years of being involved with way too many people to mention here that I have learned a hockey education that stays with me to this day. To all I have been associated with I wish nothing but a Very Merry Christmas and a Safe Healthy New Year and beyond for all and the families.

  2. Great article Randy about an all around great guy!! I always say that meeting and working with Charly is the best thing that came out of my experience with the Blind River Beavers. I have the utmost respect for him and his hockey knowledge! Thank you for writing yet another awesome article!

  3. Charly has been one who has help in getting the nojhl were it is today . A well recognized league . Kudos charly

  4. My Dad! I am so proud of this man!! Love you and you make us all so proud! Love Boog, Way to go Snappy Pappy!!

  5. Got to know Charly when he helped us out with the Parry Sound Shamrocks too many years ago. Honest, to the point, unpretentious and proud. Always a team first guy. He was a joy to be around, telling stories and cracking jokes. I think Debbie got it right because I miss having him around.

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