Chris Rurak, 47

Christopher Corey Rurak of Greenwich, passed away suddenly on Friday, July 24, leaving behind an extraordinary legacy defined by family, love, and an unrelenting passion for the sport of hockey.  

Chris was born on July 1, 1973 in Innisfail in Alberta, Canada.  In his teens, he moved with his family to Adelaide, Australia where he attended high school at Pulteney Grammar School. When he was 17, he moved to the United States and played Junior A hockey for the Massena Americans in the CJHL based out of Ottawa, Ontario, the Niagara Scenics in Buffalo, NY and in the NAJHL based in Michigan. Chris attended SUNY Cortland where he studied Economics and  played varsity hockey for 4 years. He served as a team captain and was a selected to represent SUNY Cortland as member of the All-SUNYAC team.  Additionally, while Chris was an undergraduate student, 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.  Chris met his wife Jennifer while at Cortland and they married in 2001. Chris went on to earn an MBA in Rochester, NY prior to starting his logistics management firm, Breakaway Transport, LLC nearly a decade ago.   

Over the past ten years Chris discovered an extended passion for hockey as his life-long dedication evolved from player to coach and program advisor. Chris brought his love, knowledge, and commitment to innumerable players in these roles. He coached at every level in youth hockey at the Greenwich Skating Club and for the last four years served as the Head Coach for the Greenwich High School Varsity team.  Chris believed that hockey was an extraordinary vehicle to teach life lessons.  As he reflected on this past season, Chris said it best when he noted, “Together we have come to recognize the importance of teamwork, commitment, leadership, supporting one another, successfully navigating adversity, winning with class, and losing with character. While never reflected on the scoreboard, these life lessons are the true victories that can be applied for the rest of our lives.”   

In these regards, Chris’ commitment to the sport and to the community through his coaching efforts were unparalleled. But nowhere was his passion greater than that for his family. His love and strength were ever-present with them. The greatest gifts in Chris’ life were his children, Christopher and Matthew.  His world truly revolved around them, and he was ecstatic to be able to serve as their hockey coach every year since they learned how to skate and to share and blend the joys of the game with the joys of his family. 

Chris is survived by his wife, Jennifer Walsh-Rurak, their twin boys, Christopher and Matthew, his parents Don and Shirley Rurak, his brother, Dean Rurak (Barb), his sister, Lisa Rurak (David), his father in law, Michael Walsh, his sister in law, Megan Walsh Hakewill (James), his brother in law, M. Justin Walsh (Katie), and several nieces and nephews.  Chris was predeceased by his mother in law, Jo-Ann Walsh, and his sister in law, Melissa Walsh.   

A celebration of Chris’ remarkable life will take place in the future when it is safe for those who loved him to gather.  In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Chris’ memory to the American Heart Association or to the Chris Rurak Scholarship Fund, which will enable an annual scholarship award to a GHS Student-Athlete.