Jim “Bearcat” Murray
Jim “Bearcat” Murray was one of the most recognizable and popular trainers in the NHL from 1980 to 1996 while he was with the Calgary Flames. When sports medicine was still in its infancy, Jim was near the top of his field. He was always looking for the most recent training methods and innovative ways to perform his duties. He helped the Flames get to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1986 and his name is engraved on the Stanley Cup for their 1989 championship win. When he retired as a trainer in 1996, the Flames organization named him their Community Relations Ambassador.
Born in Vulcan, Alberta, Bearcat practiced his profession in Alberta for almost thirty years. He was also a team trainer in the Western Canada Major Junior Hockey League, the World Hockey Association, the Canadian Football League and the Team Rodeo Association. He quickly became a fan favorite across the NHL. Several cities formed Bearcat Murray Fan clubs: The Boston Garden Fan Club members wore skull caps and oversized mustaches mimicking Murray's looks whenever the Flames came to town. The Montreal Forum was a regular host to Bearcat Murray Fan club members as well.
Hockey fans will best remember Bearcat leaping from the players box and running across the ice to attend to an injured player. Wearing spiked shoes, so he would not slip on the ice, was one of his many innovations.
Jim "Bearcat" Murray earned respect from his players, the coaching staff and management. Former Flames speak fondly of him...
Jamie Macoun said, “he was one of the best informed trainers of his time and a real asset not only to the players but his coaches and team."
Perry Berezan was quoted as saying, "he was my trainer, father figure, sports psychologist, skate sharpener, comedian, massage therapist, fitness coach and friend."
Bearcat has remained involved in many community and charity affairs, lending his support, time, and fundraising efforts to many causes.
Jim "Bearcat" Murray was inducted into the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society and the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame trainer's division in 2009. He was inducted into the Calgary Flames Alumni Wall of Fame in 2011, the Native Calgarian Society in 2013, and the Town of Okotoks Hall of Fame in 2013.