Memories of the old potlicker

Hockey: Tales of the Bearcat from Centennials asst. GM

By: By Jack Tennant

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 02:43 pm

Jim ‘Bearcat’ Murray drinks out of Lord Stanley’s mug after the Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup in 1989. Murray was the team’s athletic trainer.
Jim ‘Bearcat’ Murray drinks out of Lord Stanley’s mug after the Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup in 1989. Murray was the team’s athletic trainer.
Wheel file photo

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The little potlicker from Okotoks.

Say that and everyone knows you’re talking of Jim ‘Bearcat’ Murray.

Most recently known of course as trainer for the Calgary Flames hockey club, Bearcat came to Calgary in the late 1960s with the late Scotty Munro and the Calgary Centennial hockey club.

He was listed in the program as trainer but he was much more than that.

He drove the bus. He looked after the equipment, he stitched the wounded, he kept secrets for the players but most important was a father figure to many young hockey players away from home for the first time.

And, not just hockey players. Bearcat has never said no to anyone needing help and has massaged muscles from burly football players to petite figure skaters.

When the Calgary Cowboys went into the World Hockey Association, Bearcat was there. When the Calgary Flames went into the NHL, Bearcat was there.

And through it all he loved to golf and still does.

Not many men get the opportunity to golf in the 70s but Bearcat has—and tried to change the game.

In his mid 70s’ he decided it would better if he putted with one hand.

Seriously.

He would stand over the ball and with one hand he would putt. And more times than not he would sink it. There’s nothing quite so humiliating as being beat by a one-handed putter in his 70s.

He’s a better golfer than fly-fisherman. Just ask Joe Carbury, the well-known former voice of the chuckwagon races who at one time was at the play-by-play radio announcer for the Calgary Centennials on CFAC radio. Of course Bearcat and Joe were great friends and one time they decided to do a little fly-fishing.

Neither were that experienced and it showed when one of Bearcat’s mighty casts wandered a tad. Bearcat’s tie-tightened and so did Joe’s sphincter—Bearcat’s hook was embedded in Joe’s ear.

Bearcat is also an auctioneer.

He talked so fast he left his hair behind but he seriously has done many a fine auction for charitable organizations and one hesitates to guess how much money he’s raised for good causes but it’s been many, many of thousands dollars.

All this and a great guy to boot.

The little potlicker from Okotoks has been a great credit to his sports, to his family and to his community.

And is loved by potlickers the world over.

Jack Tennant was the assistant general manager for the Calgary Centennials while Jim “Bearcat” Murray was trainer. They have been friends for more than four decades.


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