ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Former NHL player and Minnesota Wild assistant general manager Tom Kurvers died Monday after a battle with lung cancer, the team and University of Minnesota-Duluth said. He was 58.
Kurvers served as Minnesota’s assistant general manager since 2018. Minnesota-Duluth athletics spokesman Brian Nystrom said the hockey program there was informed of Kurvers’ death by Kurvers’ family. The Wild said Kurvers died at his home Monday morning.
Kurvers won the Hobey Baker Award as the top college player at Minnesota Duluth in 1984. He played 11 NHL seasons from 1984-1995 with the Canadiens, Sabres, Devils, Maple Leafs, Canucks, Islanders and Mighty Ducks before going into management.
He began as a Coyotes scout, then joined the Lightning and helped build a Stanley Cup-winning team before moving on to the Wild. Kurvers was diagnosed in January 2019 with adenocarcinoma, a small cell lung cancer that was deemed inoperable.
“Tom’s passion for and success in hockey could only be surpassed by the love and optimism he shared with his family and friends each and every day,” the Wild said in a statement. “Tom’s kindness and enthusiasm will be greatly missed by the countless number of people on whom he had a positive influence throughout his life.”
Kurvers was a seventh-round pick of Montreal in 1981 after his freshman season and had 76 points in leading Minnesota-Duluth to the national title game during his final year there in 1984.
He was traded seven times as a player, two shy of the record. He was ahead of his time as an offensive defenseman, putting up 421 points in 659 regular-season NHL games.
In front offices, Kurvers became a mentor to other executives.
“There are a lot of terrific people in the hockey world, but Tom stood out as the nicest, kindest and most humble,” Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said. “He was grateful for all the good that happened in his life and was eager to give back. He was very generous with his advice and very insightful. I know Tom mentored many people throughout hockey, and I was privileged to be one of them.”