MONTREAL -- Former NHL defenseman Bryan Marchment died unexpectedly Wednesday in Montreal, the NHL announced. He was 53.
A cause of death was not immediately available.
"It's a sad day for for me personally, a very sad day for our organization," said Mike Grier, who was named Sharks general manager Tuesday. "He meant a lot to a lot of people in our organization, our players, our staff -- anyone who knew Brian, the type of man he was. He was just an honest, a down-to-earth, loving person who just cared about everyone. He had time for everyone in the building. Anyone he came across, he had time for. "
Marchment played parts of 17 NHL seasons from 1989-2006 with Winnipeg, Chicago, Hartford, Edmonton, Tampa Bay, San Jose, Colorado, Toronto and Calgary. The Scarborough, Ontario native had been working in scouting and other roles for the Sharks and their American Hockey League affiliate since 2007.
The NHL and NHL Alumni Association offered their condolences in statements released Wednesday afternoon. News of Marchment's death reached GMs while they were attending their annual meeting at the draft.
"Just shocking and devastating news," Philadelphia's Chuck Fletcher said. "Very young man. Obviously, you're thinking of his family and friends right now."
New Jersey's Tom Fitzgerald called Marchment a good friend and a great teammate and said his death was devastating. Winnipeg's Kevin Cheveldayoff, who knew Marchment well from his scouting days, choked back tears when offering his condolences.
"It's just tragic," Cheveldayoff said.
Grier played with Marchment with the Oilers and said Marchment was quick to treat him with respect and make him feel at home.
"If I ever needed anything, whether it was a home-cooked dinner instead of eating out every day, he and (wife) Kim would have me over," Grier said. "So, it's a very difficult day."
Grier praised Marchment as a hard worker and said members of San Jose's staff would carry on with their responsibilities at the draft with heavy hearts.
"I gave them some time to regroup and have some time to themselves and process and grieve," he said. "I know 'Mush' - that's what he would say. He would want us to get back to work and do our best and have the best draft possible, so we'll get back to work. "
The Associated Press contributed to this report.