Minnesota hockey hero Tom Kurvers dies at age 58

He'd been battling lung cancer since early 2019.
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Tom Kurvers, the assistant general manager for the Minnesota Wild, has died at age 58, according to reports. 

Kurvers, a native of Bloomington, had been battling lung cancer since about January 2019. The Minnesota Wild said he died Monday morning. 

"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 about the father of four. "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 has a lengthy hockey career, including leading Bloomington Jefferson to its first-ever state tournament appearance, and winning the 1984 Hobey Baker award as a defenseman for the University of Minnesota Duluth. During his time as a Bulldog, held the career record for most goals by a UMD defenseman (he had 43) from 1980-1984, was named Rookie of the Year in 1981, was the WCHA’s Most Valuable Player, WCHA All-Academic, and all-WCHA first team. 

He helped lead the Bulldogs to their first WCHA regular-season title and their second-place finish in the NCAA championship. 

Kurvers was drafted 145th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1981 NHL entry draft, launching his NHL career that spanned 11 years on seven different teams (Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders and Anaheim Mighty Ducks), including winning the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1986. 

The Minnesota native returned in 2018 when he was named as the Wild's assistant general manager. Less than a year later, he was diagnosed with lung cancer

As news of his death spread on social media Monday morning, many are paying tribute to Kurvers, remembering him as someone who was great on the ice, but even better off it. 

"We join the State of Hockey in mourning the loss of a great hockey player and an even better person," the Wild said. 

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