Wednesday's NHL: Sharks scout, former defenseman Bryan Marchment dies at 53

Stephen Whyno
Associated Press

Montreal — Former NHL defenseman Bryan Marchment died unexpectedly Wednesday in Montreal, his agent said. He was 53.

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.

Red Wings forward Darren McCarty, left, fights Sharks defenseman Bryan Marchment during a 2001 game in San Jose, Calif. Marchment died unexpectedly Monday in Montreal. He was 53.

A cause of death was not immediately available.

“It’s a sad day for 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 –anyone who knew Brian, the type of man he was. He was just an honest, a down-to-earth, loving person who just cared about everyone. He had time for everyone in the building. Anyone he came across, he had time for. ”

Marchment played parts of 17 NHL seasons from 1989-2006 with Winnipeg, Chicago, Hartford, Edmonton, Tampa Bay, San Jose, Colorado, Toronto and Calgary. The Scarborough, Ontario native had been working in scouting and other roles for the Sharks and their American Hockey League affiliate since 2007.

The NHL and NHL Alumni Association offered their condolences in statements released Wednesday afternoon. News of Marchment’s death reached GMs while they were attending their annual meeting at the draft.

“Just shocking and devastating news,” Philadelphia’s Chuck Fletcher said. “Very young man. Obviously, you’re 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, whether it was a home-cooked dinner instead of eating out every day, he and (wife) Kim would have me over,” Grier said. “So, it’s a very difficult day.”

Grier praised Marchment as a hard worker and said members of San Jose’s staff would carry on with their responsibilities at the draft with heavy hearts.

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

Devils hire female assistant GM

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

General Manager Tom Fitzgerald announced the promotion Wednesday, the day before the NHL draft.

“Kate has been an incredibly valuable resource to not only me, but to our entire hockey operations leadership staff, particularly over the past three years, as part of key hockey decisions,” Fitzgerald said. “This promotion is reflective of the duties and responsibilities that Kate has assumed within our organization during that time.

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

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

The Vancouver Canucks have two women serving as assistant general managers, Emilie Castonguay and Cammi Granato. The first woman to hold the title in the NHL was Angela Gorgone 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 that I knew in (the) NHL, females (working) in hockey operations, so I just naturally gravitated into coaching because that’s all I really thought was available at the time. I think more representation, the more females breaking in different angles is amazing.”

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

“But I do think the hires, they’re people that are qualified, too,” she said. “There’s naysayers that say, ‘Oh, you’re just trying to catch up and you’re just adding people to add them,’ but they are qualified people. But I’m not surprised. I’m excited about it.

“It’s very good that the NHL is taking that sort of mindset and looking toward that to open the pool for applicants and for hires,” Granato added. “Part of me isn’t surprised at this point, but I’m definitely excited about that opportunity that women are getting and diversity. I think that’s great.”

Madigan had been serving as the team’s executive director of hockey management/operations. The 29-year-old also worked two years in the video/player information operation before being promoted to director of pro scouting operations in 2021. During the pandemic, her job 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, each day, and bring back the consistent success our fans expect and deserve,” she said. “I’m excited for the future of this team, not only now, but for what it will be.”

Madigan will serve as part of the small group that Fitzgerald will lean on for key input, strategy and decision-making, which includes roster construction at the pro and amateur levels, transactions, hockey personnel decisions, team operations, facilities management, budget, and as part of the team’s management travel party.

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