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Cancer and Bryan Murray

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On cancer, facing illness, and Bryan Murray's positive impact in light of yesterday's news that his cancer is incurable.

Richard Wolowicz

Bryan Murray has colon cancer. It has spread to his liver and lungs. It is stage four. There is no stage five, there is currently no cure. These are the facts.

Right now the facts are not enough.

Watching Murray's discussion with Michael Farber for TSN, I was reminded of an exchange from The Lion in Winter. When asked why it matters how we die, Richard the Lionheart, played by Anthony Hopkins, responds with "when the fall is all there is, it matters". Murray faces a similar dilemma and has taken the same stand as the prince. He's facing this chapter the same way he's faced every chapter: fighting, taking no shit, doing his job.

Murray has spent a decade in Ottawa. Once synonymous with organizational dysfunction, the Senators front office is now synonymous with Bryan. He's coached and managed this team and few players have been Senators longer than Murray. One quality has come across through all the press conferences, TV spots, and radio interviews and that's his honesty. There's a reason so many players, coaches, and hockey personnel have shown their support for Bryan during the current Hockey Fights Cancer campaign and it's because of the kind of man he is: strong and straightforward.

It matters how we fall. Murray knows this. Last night's announcement was as much about awareness for the disease that he's fighting as it is about the simple medical procedure that could have resolved this issue before it got to this point. Murray talked plainly and openly about colonoscopies, about the importance of the test, and the danger of putting it off. He talked about it not because it was easy or comfortable, but because it was necessary. If you think that effort doesn't matter, if you think it doesn't matter how we faced our greatest trials, watch that TSN video again. Watch Aaron Ward respond to it in real time. He admits he's put off having the test, admits it's a problem, promises to resolve it. Telling has already made an impact, Bryan. Murray's openness has already changed the hockey community for the better.

The ripples, the positive effects of Murray's admission, go further than Aaron Ward.

It matters what we do, it matters how we face each chapter in life. Murray has made a habit of doing things the right way and the hockey world is better for it.

Keep fighting, Bryan.