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US Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 1987

John "Jack" Kirrane Jr.
Hugh "Muzz" Murray

1987 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Jack Kirrane practically grew up on skates.  His father, the late John J. Kirrane, Sr., a captain in the Brookline, Mass., Fire Dept., was an ardent hockey enthusiast who annually flooded the back yard of the family’s Clyde Street residence.  The elder Kirrane was also the expert who made sure the ice was right and the hockey sticks shellacked to make them last longer.  IT was in such a tradition that Jack and his brothers learned the game.

Jack progressed on to Brookline High School where he earned All Scholastic and Most Valuable Player honors in the Eastern Schoolboy Hockey League. After high school, it was on to the Boston Junior Olympics and a subsequent spot on the 1948 Olympic Team.  Only 17 at the time, Kirrane was a teammate of United States Hockey Hall of Fame (USHHF) enshrinees Jack Garrity, Jack Riley, and Manager Walter Brown, as the team finished fourth with a 5-3 record.

However, it was to be the 1960 Olympics for which Jack Kirrane would be remembered.  An underdog United States team stunned the hockey world by upsetting Canada and the Soviet Union to bring America its then greatest hockey success since the 1933 World Tournament victory.  In the 3-2 win over the Soviets it was said of Jack Kirrane that regardless of personal safety, he threw his body into the path of Russian shots time after time in order to take the heat off goalie Jack McCartan.  His defensive partner, John Mayasich, commented: “He was a team player and catalyst of the ’60 Olympic team. He was one of the older players on that team and he was all serious.  Defensively, he was one of the best.” 

Kirrane also played on the 1957 and 1963 National Teams and continued his local hockey career with such Massachusetts senior teams as the Wetzell Club of Brockton, Lynn, Estes, and Lowell.  He also led the Wetzells to the 1957 Amateur Hockey Association of the United States National Senior Championship.

1987 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee 

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan was an early spawning ground for hockey in the United States.  The first professional hockey league in the world, the International League, was even centered there under the guidance of United States Hockey Hall of Fame (USHHF) enshrinee Dr. J.L. “Doc” Gibson.  It was under such influence that American greats such as Joe Linder, Nick Kahler, Taffy Abel, and Murray were developed.

“Muzz” Murray was only the second American developed player to participate in the Stanley Cup Finals when he played for the Seattle Metropolitans in the historic 1919 series against the Montreal Canadians.  (The series was suspended at 2-2-1 due to an influenza epidemic).  Murray was the third leading scorer in the series and subsequently appeared in the 1920 Finals against Ottawa.  After one more season with Seattle, he closed his professional career with Calgary of the Western Canada League in 1922.

He later played briefly for Tulsa in the American Hockey Association.  It was Murray’s brilliant play as a cover point (defenseman) with Sault Ste. Marie, MI, of the American Amateur Hockey Association, however, that brought him to pro hockey in the Pacific Coast League.  Between 1912-1918 , playing in the Western Division of the Association, then the highest level of competition in the United States, Murray was a consistent standout.

An early press account said of him: “Murray, with his energetic outburst of speed and his remarkable elusive power starred for the Soo.  “Muzz” proved the effectiveness of his rushes by scoring one of the Soo’s goals after bringing the puck the entire length of the rink and passing all the Calumet players.” Murray captained the 1915 Soo team to the Western Division championship before losing to Cleveland in the finals.  He was also named to the All-Western team of the American Hockey Association for that season.

The Michigan native was known both as a rough and tumble player, as well as a scorer.  His spirit, fire and drive made him a team leader.  Another early writer noted this when he said: “Hugh (Muzz) Murray took an ugly slide into the boards striking his face on the side.  His nose was injured and also his head.  Another time he got a jab in the mouth with a stick, but none of these retarded his playing in the least.”

Murray continued playing local senior amateur hockey until he was nearly 60-years old, while serving the city of Sault Ste. Marie as Superintendent of Streets.  He also took an active role in the development of youth hockey in his hometown as well.