Updated: Aug 3, 2022
The NHL season is underway and while the spotlight is on the players, more light needs to be shed on the teams. The Chicago Blackhawks were recently in the news for their investigation into allegations of sexual assault from 2010. This resulted in the president of hockey operations resigning and the team being fined $2 million dollars. The Pittsburgh Penguins recently settled following claims that former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach John Donatelli sexually assaulted Erin Skalde in 2018. The details of the settlement were not disclosed. While these stories have been a hot topic there is little media coverage about the Anaheim Ducks General Manager (GM) Bob Murray.
Murray has been employed by the Ducks since 2005 and is the third-longest tenured GM in the NHL. The other two tenured GMs are Nashville’s David Poile and San Jose’s Doug Wilson. At first Murray was placed on administrative leave by the Ducks but ultimately, he resigned from his position. The leave and ultimately resignation stem from the same allegation of improper professional conduct, the specific of the complaints as well as people who came forward has not been disclosed. An internal investigation conducted by Sheppard Mullin revealed that Murray created a toxic workplace by verbal abusing and harassing Ducks players, coaches and personnel. One source stated “Working for Bob Murray was pure daily mental warfare. The abuse was endless. Crazy text messages to players and staff berating them for their performance and threats of job security happened with regularity. These weren’t one-time slip-ups or mistakes. These were regular explosions and eruptions.” This type of verbal abuse does not belong in the workplace.
Following his resignation, Murray will enroll in an alcohol abuse program and assistant general manager Jeff Solomon will take over as interim GM. After resigning Murrays said "I want to apologize to anyone adversely affected by my behavior. I vow to make changes to my life, starting with enrolling in a treatment program. I want to thank Henry and Susan Samueli, and Michael Schulman, as working for them has been one of the highlights of my career. As I step away from the Ducks, I will focus my attention on where it should be: improving my life for the betterment of my family and friends." The Ducks owners, Henry and Susan Samueli released a statement following Murray’s resignation saying "First and foremost, we apologize on behalf of the organization to anyone affected by misconduct from Bob. We expect every member of our organization to be treated with respect and will not stand for abuse of any kind.”  The NHL also released a statement supporting the resignation and condemning any type of workplace abuse.
While the sentiments from the owners and league are a start, it is not enough. The NHL needs to hold teams more accountable for their staff and actions of the teams. The last few months have seen allegations from the Blackhawks and the Penguins. In both situations, complaints were ignored by high-ranking officals within the organizations. The individuals who work and play for these teams have the right to be in a workplace enviornment that is welcoming, not toxic. This does not just apply to the NHL; the NFL and the NBA have also had allegations against owners of teams with in the last few years. The bad behavior of the high-ranking individuals in these leagues is unacceptable and should no longer be tolerated. The commissioners of the leagues need to do better to protect the staff and players.
 Seravalli, Frank. “Sources: Ducks GM Bob Murray Placed on Leave for 'Mental Warfare,' Verbal Abuse.” Daily Faceoff, Nov. 10, 2021, https://www.dailyfaceoff.com/sources-ducks-gm-bob-murray-placed-on-leave-for-mental-warfare-verbal-abuse/.  Id.  Id.  Shilton, K. (2021, November 11). Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray resigns, will enroll in Alcohol Abuse Program. ESPN. from https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/32601417/anaheim-ducks-general-manager-bob-murray-resigns-enroll-alcohol-abuse-program.  Id.