Hall of Famer
Inducted in 1980
In 1961, the federal government made its first major commitment to supporting Canadian athletes in international sport. Despite this, individual national sport organizations were still predominantly volunteer-run, a period that has been dubbed by historians the "kitchen-table" era to commemorate the area from which many volunteers operated. That Canada fielded teams and captured international medals is due in large part to the diligent administrators and volunteers who gave of their time. In this spirit, Ken Murray was one of the most prominent administrators. He worked as a stock broker and investment banker before becoming president of Beaver Oil Co. Despite these commitments, Canadian Olympian Dick Pound remembers Murray organizing rail cars to take swimmers to the national championships and staying up to cook food for the athletes. Growing up in Montreal, Murray was an accomplished young athlete, primarily in football and hockey. He played football with Montreal's team in the Big Four, spent eleven years playing hockey with the senior Montreal Royals, and three times appearing in the Allan Cup finals with the club. He also coached amateur hockey in Montreal at the Junior B, Junior A, and collegiate levels (the latter with McGill University). Murray continued to make significant contributions to sport, first in Montreal as a director with the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association. He became involved with sport administration on the national level with the Canadian Amateur Swimming Association. Murray was president of the Quebec section, before serving a two-year term as national president beginning in 1961. He conceived and organized a program that he called "Operation Tokyo," wherein young swimmers in a variety of age groups swam under the same prescribed conditions on the same day and Murray compiled "national" results. This was a program designed with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in mind and was one of the first attempts in Canada to identify and develop sporting talent. Murray moved into international sport administration as a vice-president of the British Commonwealth Games Association of Canada. In this role, he was a member of the Canadian mission staff at the 1958, 1962, 1966, and 1970 Games. Murray brought the same volunteer dedication and administrative excellence to the Canadian Olympic Association, with whom he served as a director throughout the 1960s. When in 1970, with the federal government making an enhanced commitment to international sport, the COA needed someone to oversee their programs they turned to Murray. Only five years from retirement, he gave up his full-time job to accept a position with the COA as program coordinator. In this role, he organized the Canadian missions to the Summer and Winter Olympic Games in 1972 and 1976, the Commonwealth Games in 1974 and 1978, and the 1971, 1975, and 1979 Pan-American Games. He also administered the Junior Olympics program, which was providing sport opportunities to 500,000 Canadian children at the time. Up until the end of his life, Murray was still planning Canada's delegations to the scheduled 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid and Moscow.