The Minnesota Wild announced on Monday that Assistant General Manager Tom Kurvers has died. He was 58. The Wild wrote in the statement that he died after being diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago.
"The Minnesota Wild organization is heartbroken to announce that Tom Kurvers passed away this morning after a courageous battle with lung cancer," the team said. "We extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to Tom's family and loved ones, including his wife, Heather, daughters Madison and Rose, and sons Weston and Roman."
Kurvers' ties to hockey go much deeper than just being an assistant general manager -- a role he took on in 2018. He played in the league for 11 seasons as a defenseman, and, as the Wild explained, he excelled even before getting to the NHL.
"From Minnesota high school standout, to Hobey Baker Award winner and Stanley Cup champion, Tom's passion for and success in hockey could only be surpassed by the love and optimism he shared with family and friends each and every day," the team said.
Kurvers won the Stanley Cup as a member of the Montreal Canadiens in 1986.
Since his cancer diagnosis in 2019, Kurvers had raised awareness specifically for lung cancer. He organized fundraisers and wanted to reduce the stigma of the disease.
"It's a terrible stigma that is attached to lung cancer. Lung cancer kills more people than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. It has a stigma of being a smoker's cancer, but 50 percent of the people who are diagnosed are not smokers," he said not long ager being diagnosed, according to NHL.com.
Kurvers ended his playing career after the 1995-96 season. He then worked as a radio analyst for the Coyotes, before becoming a pro scout and then director of player personnel. With the Tampa Bay Lightning he had roles as an assistant general manager, general manager and senior adviser to GM Steve Yzerman, before heading to the Wild.