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Bryan Marchment, a former professional hockey player who played 926 games over 17 seasons in the NHL, has died. He was 53.
Best known for his physical style of play on the ice, Marchment was in Montreal, Canada for the NHL Entry Draft for his job as an amateur scout for the San Jose Sharks. His death was unexpected, the team said in a statement shared with PEOPLE, and a cause of death has not yet been announced.
The defenseman played 334 games for San Jose between 1998 and 2003, according to Hockey Reference; Marchment joined the Sharks' front office upon his retirement from the sport in 2006.
"Bryan's lifelong love of hockey was unparalleled, and he was among the most dedicated, physical, and fiercest players to ever play the game," the Sharks said in the statement. "He spent more than 20 seasons with the Sharks organization — 334 games as a player and 15 as a member of the Sharks scouting department."
"Most importantly, Bryan was a loving son, husband, and father," the statement continued. "Our deepest condolences go out to his parents, his wife Kim and son Mason and daughter Logan."
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Marchment accrued 2,307 penalty minutes over his NHL career, granting him 31st place on the NHL's all-time penalty minutes leaderboard. Though the league does not officially track fights, the website HockeyFights estimates Marchment participated in 84 fights as a player. The Scarborough, Ontario, native was a first-round draft choice by the Winnipeg Jets in 1987. Marchment scored 40 goals and 182 points over the course of his career — his highest-scoring season came in the 2002-03 season with San Jose, in which he scored two goals and added 20 assists over 73 games.
San Jose general manager Mike Grier — who was just named to the position on Tuesday — said Wednesday was "a very difficult day for our staff," per the NHL. Grier and Marchment's playing careers intersected when both played with the Edmonton Oilers from the 1996-98 seasons.
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"Anyone who knew Bryan knew what type of man he was He was just an honest, down to earth, loving person who just cared about everyone," Grier said. "He had time for everyone in the building, anyone he came across, he had time."
Grier, who broke into the league as a rookie with Edmonton in 1996, said Marchment "was great to me" during the time they played together.
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"[Marchment] treated me with respect right away and made me feel at home and if I ever needed anything whether it was a dinner, a home-cooked dinner, instead of eating out every day, he and (wife) Kim would have me over," he shared. "It's a very difficult day."
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo, who played his first three seasons in San Jose after the Sharks drafted him in 2011, offered his condolences to Marchment's family on Twitter and remembered him as a mentor.
"I'm not where I am today without your knowledge of the game and your guidance," DeMelo wrote.
Following in his father's skates, Marchment's son Mason, 27, currently plays as a forward for the Florida Panthers.