Veteran NHL defenceman Bryan Marchment dead at 53

MONTREAL The hockey world grieved former NHL defenceman Bryan Marchment as it gathered for its GM meetings and the annual draft in Montreal.

The one-time Maple Leaf from Scarborough died Wednesday. He was a scout for the San Jose Sharks and was in town for the Thursday and Friday draft. The cause of death has not been announced.

“It’s a very difficult day for our staff,” said new Sharks GM Mike Grier, a former teammate of Marchment. “Those guys, your scouts, you spend a lot of time together on the road and in meetings, so it was very emotional day, very hard on the group.

“It’s a sad day for me personally, very sad day for our organization, our players, our staff. Anyone who knew Bryan knew what type of man he was. He was just an honest, down-to-earth, loving person who just cared about everyone. He had time for everyone in the building; anyone he came across, he had time.

“He was great to me my first few years in Edmonton, treated me with respect right away and made me feel at home and if I ever needed anything, whether it was a dinner, a home-cooked dinner, instead of eating out every day, he and (his wife) Kim would have me over. It’s a very difficult day.”

Marchment spent 17 seasons in the NHL with nine teams, including 2003-04 in Toronto.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Bryan Marchment,” the Leafs tweeted. “Our hearts go out to his entire family.”

His son, Mason, also a former Leaf, spent the last two seasons with the Florida Panthers. Marchment is also survived by his wife, Kim, and daughter, Logan.

He was a hard-nosed defenceman, named one of the meanest in the game by the Bleacher Report. Selected by the Jets with the 16th pick of the 1987 NHL draft, Marchment played 926 games, scoring 40 goals and adding 142 assists. He amassed 2,307 penalty minutes, including 106 in his one season in Toronto.

“Just tragic,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said as he emerged from the league’s GM meetings.

“Utter shock and obviously thinking about (his son) Mason and his family,” Canadiens GM Kent Hughes told NHL.com. “It’s terrible news. We just sat there for the first half-hour trying to digest it.”

Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald, who played with Marchment in Toronto during the 2003-04 season, said, “Brian was a really good friend and a great teammate of mine. It’s just devastating, as we all know.”

Marchment was the second former Leaf to die in the last two weeks. Jim Pappin, credited with the last Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Leafs, died last week. Pappin played five seasons for Toronto in the 1960s and was named one of the 100 greatest Leafs of all time.

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