Sharks scout, former defenseman Bryan Marchment dies at 53

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Montreal — Former NHL defenseman Bryan Marchment passed away suddenly Wednesday in Montreal, his agent said. He was 53 years old.

Longtime agent Rick Curran confirmed Marchment’s death to The Associated Press. Marchment was attending the NHL Draft in Montreal as a scout for the San Jose Sharks.

A cause of death was not immediately available.

“It’s a sad day for me personally, a very sad day for our organization,” said Mike Grier, who was named Sharks general manager on Tuesday.

“He meant a lot to a lot of people in our organization, our players, our staff – everyone who knew Brian, the type of man he was. He was just an honest, down to earth, loving person who cared about everyone. He had time for everyone in the building. He had time for everyone he met.”

Marchment played 17 NHL seasons from 1989 to 2006 with Winnipeg, Chicago, Hartford, Edmonton, Tampa Bay, San Jose, Colorado, Toronto and Calgary. The Scarborough, Ont., native had worked as a scout and in other roles for the Sharks and their American Hockey League affiliate since 2007.

The NHL and the NHL Alumni Association offered their condolences in statements released Wednesday afternoon. News of Marchment’s death reached the general managers as they attended their annual draft meeting.

“Just shocking and devastating news,” said Chuck Fletcher from Philadelphia. “Very young man. Obviously, you are thinking of his family and friends right now.

Grier played with Marchment with the Oilers and said Marchment was quick to treat him with respect and make him feel at home.

“If I ever needed anything, be it a home-cooked dinner instead of eating out every day, he and (his wife) Kim would invite me over,” Grier said. “So it’s a very difficult day.”

Grier praised Marchment for being a hard worker and said San Jose staff members will continue to fulfill their responsibilities in the draft with heavy hearts.

“I gave them time to regroup and have time for themselves, to process and to grieve,” he said. “I know ‘Mush’ – that’s what he would say. He would like us to go back to work and do our best and have the best draft possible, so we will get back to work.

Devils hire assistant GM

The New Jersey Devils have named their first assistant general manager, making Kate Madigan the sixth woman to hold the NHL title.

General manager Tom Fitzgerald announced the promotion Wednesday, the day before the NHL Draft.

“Kate has been an incredibly valuable resource not just to me, but to all of our senior hockey operations staff, particularly over the past three years with key hockey decisions,” said Fitzgerald. “This promotion reflects the duties and responsibilities Kate has taken on within our organization during this time.

“His diligence, work ethic, attention to detail, ability to communicate with all staff, strategy and vision are qualities I look for in our leadership,” he added.

The NHL has seen several women promoted to assistant general manager in the past month, with Hayley Wickenheiser getting the job in Toronto this week and Meghan Hunter being promoted in Chicago last month.

The Vancouver Canucks have two women as assistant general managers, Emilie Castonguay and Cammi Granato. The first woman to hold the NHL title was Angela Gorgon in 1996.

“It’s amazing. Representation really matters,” Hunter said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“I remember coming out of college and I didn’t really see anybody I knew in (the) NHL, women (working) in hockey operations, so I naturally went into coaching because that’s all I really thought was available at the time. I think the more representation there is, the more women there are breaking from different angles, it’s amazing.

Granato said the pendulum is swinging to add diversity in many different areas of sport, whether it’s broadcasting, business or the front office.

“But I think rookies are also qualified people,” she said. “There are naysayers who say, ‘Oh, you’re just trying to catch up and just add people to add them’, but they’re qualified people. But I’m not surprised. I’m excited about it.

“It’s very good that the NHL is adopting this kind of mentality and looking towards this to open up the pool of candidates and hires,” added Granato. “Part of me isn’t surprised at this point, but I’m really excited about this opportunity that women are getting and the diversity. I think it’s great.

Madigan served as the team’s executive director of hockey management and operations. The 29-year-old also worked two years in the video/player information operation before being promoted to director of professional scouting operations in 2021. During the pandemic, her work in management/operations overlapped with her role in scouting.

She called the promotion an exciting opportunity.

“I look forward to working with this group to make the New Jersey Devils better, every day, and bring back the consistent success our fans expect and deserve,” she said. “I’m excited for the future of this team, not just now, but for what it will be.”

Madigan will be part of the small group that Fitzgerald will rely on for key input, strategy and decision-making, which includes roster construction at the professional and amateur levels, transactions, hockey personnel decisions, operations. management, facilities management, budget and as part of the team leadership journey.

Madigan holds a master’s degree in accounting and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northeastern University. She worked for two years as an accountant at Deloitte before changing careers.

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