E.J. McGuire's death 'hits very hard'
Bowness recalls bond among original members of Sens' coaching staff
BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
|Edward John “EJ” McGuire. (DIDIER DEBUSSCHERE/QMI AGENCY)
OTTAWA - Alain Vigneault and Rick Bowness paused Thursday to remember a friend and fellow original member of the Senators' coaching staff.
Edward John (E.J.) McGuire, the NHL's VP of the Central Scouting Bureau and an assistant coach with the 1992-93 Senators, died after a five-month battle with cancer. He was 58.
Tributes were pouring in for McGuire, who dedicated his life to the game and brought a lot to the Senators in his three years with the club.
He also formed a bond with Vigneault, a fellow assistant on the expansion team, and Bowness, its coach.
“This is a very sad day. I just talked to (McGuire) a couple of weeks ago like everybody else, so this hits very hard. He was one of the smartest people I've ever met. He could talk about anything,” said Bowness, now an assistant to Vigneault with the Vancouver Canucks.
“When you go through what we went through those first few years (with the Senators), you become a very close staff. You know it’s going to be tough years and you want to surround yourself with good people. I was very fortunate to have E.J. and Alain there with me. There have been many times this year Alain and I have brought up some of those days in Ottawa with E.J.”
“This is a very sad for all of hockey and for the Ottawa Senators as well,” said team president Cyril Leeder. “He was an original member of our 1992 team and he helped to bring hockey back to Ottawa.
“He’s stayed involved with the game. It’s certainly very sad and a terrible tragedy.”
The early days were challenging for the Senators, but McGuire was a student of the game. He, Bowness and Vigneault came up with unique ways to keep the players engaged and the work ethic high.
“They were a special group with E.J. He worked well with everybody, especially with Rick and Alain,” said Leeder. “We didn’t have great results that year on the ice, but we accomplished everything we wanted to do.”
After his tenure with the Senators, McGuire went on to coach the OHL’s Guelph Storm.
He left because he wanted to run his own program and also had a two-year stint with AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack.
He took his role as head of the CSB seriously and he’ll be missed on draft day in June in Minnesota.
“E.J. was a colleague, a friend and a mentor who influenced and the enriched the hockey lives of thousands of players, coaches, parents and administrators,” said NHL senior VP Colin Campbell.
“As a coach, he combined attention to detail with innovation to teach the game to players at all levels. As (VP of the CSB), he brought wisdom, guidance and unparalleled commitment to the game.
“E.J. had two loves in life: His love of family and his passion for hockey.”
McGuire is survived by his wife Terry, and their daughters Jacqueline and Erin.