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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History; John Muckler -- Born April 3, 1934

John Muckler did just about everything in the hockey business in the course of a long, distinguished career.

He broke into the pro ranks as a player in 1955, mostly playing in the legendary Eastern League. Muckler spent four seasons with the New York Rovers/Long Island Ducks. Then it was on to coaching, as he worked with several teams -- mostly in the minors -- for more than 15 years.

Muckler landed in Edmonton in 1981, where he was a visible assistant under Glen Sather. Muckler made major contributions to the Oilers' dynasty in the 1980's, helping coach such stars as Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Mark Messier and Paul Coffey.

When Sather gave up his coaching responsibilities, Muckler moved up to head coach and won a Stanley Cup in 1990. A year later, he jumped at the chance to come to Buffalo when the possibility of serving as a general manager here came up.

Muckler worked as a coach and a GM during the next six years here. He's best known for a rapid rebuilding job on a Sabres team that won a division title and a playoff round in 1997. But Muckler was fired right after that season, a victim of internal problems in the organization.

Muckler later worked as a head coach with the New York Rangers, and as a general manager with the Ottawa Senators.

-- Budd Bailey

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