Chris Rurak, who served as the head coach of the Greenwich High School boys ice hockey team for four successful seasons, has died.
Rurak, who resided in Greenwich with his wife Jennifer and sons Christopher and Matthew, was 47 years old.
“Our thoughts and hearts are with Jen and the boys for the loss of coach Rurak,” Greenwich High Athletic Director Gus Lindine said.
A well-known coach in the hockey community, Rurak was an advocate for the sport and dedicated his time to the teams that he coached, both on and off the ice.
“Our GHS Athletics Community is mourning the loss of a wonderful coach, mentor and friend, but we remain grateful for the lasting impact that coach Rurak had on our hockey program. The legacy he leaves behind will be felt forever,” Lindine said.
Rurak was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where his love of hockey began as a member of the local minor hockey program. At the age of 12, Rurak and his family moved to Australia, where he continued his youth hockey career. He moved to the United States when he was 17 and played Junior A hockey for the Massena Americans in the CJHL, based out of Ottawa, Ontario, and the Niagara Scenics in Buffalo, N.Y. for the NAJHL.
Rurak earned a Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY Cortland, while playing on the varsity hockey team for four seasons. He served as captain of the team and was selected to represent SUNY Cortland as member of the All-SUNYAC team.
During his undergraduate years in college, he represented Australia in the IIHF World Championships and played hockey in South Korea, Lithuania, South Africa, Andorra, Barcelona, Spain, Bendigo, Australia and Cardiff Wales.
Rurak proceeded to earn an MBA from Medaille College in Buffalo, then started his own logistics management firm, Breakaway Transport, LLC. Besides coaching hockey at Greenwich High, Rurak spent time coaching at the Greenwich Skating Club.
Jack Duffy served as an assistant coach on Rurak’s Greenwich High staff.
“I was shocked and saddened to hear about Chris’ passing,” Duffy said. “My immediate thoughts are with Jen and the boys.”
Rurak’s enthusiasm for the sport reflected in his team’s performance.
“Chris will always be a tremendously positive influence on all the players he coached at Greenwich High School and at the Greenwich Skating Club,” Duffy said. “His passion for the sport and love for his players left an indelible mark on both programs. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with Chris and will miss him very much.”
While coaching Greenwich High, Rurak registered a record of 51-30-3, including a 13-7-1 mark during the Cardinals’ 2019-2020 season. He guided Greenwich to the championship game in the FCIAC Tournament in 2019 and 2018. The Cardinals also reached the title game of the 2018 CIAC Division I Tournament under Rurak’s guidance.