The Dallas Stars restructured their management staff on Monday, naming Joe Nieuwendyk the team's general manager.
The 42-year-old Nieuwendyk returns to the city of Dallas from the Toronto Maple Leafs' organization, where he had been serving as special assistant to the general manager.
"I am very excited about returning to the Dallas Stars as General Manager," said Nieuwendyk. "I am ready for this opportunity. The Dallas Stars have built a winning tradition over the years and I want to help continue that legacy. My family is very excited about returning to Dallas. I have great memories from my playing days with the Stars and look forward to helping this team win as general manager."
As part of the reshuffling process, co-GMs Brett Hull and Les Jackson have both been reassigned within the organization. Hull will be moving to the roles of executive vice president and alternative governor, while Jackson is returning to his role as director of scouting and player development. Hicks said it was in the team's best interest to return the pair to their 'respective strengths.'
"We are very excited to secure Joe Nieuwendyk as the General Manager," said Stars owner Thomas O. Hicks. "These moves are all about helping this club take the proverbial 'next step.' Joe is a leader and has been a winner in everything he has done. He is ready for this opportunity and has a bright future as an NHL General Manager. We want that future to be with the Dallas Stars."
Niewendyk has become familiar with management roles recently. Prior to spending last season with the Leafs' club, he worked as a special consultant to the GM with the Florida Panthers. It should be a relatively soft landing for Nieuwendyk who already gained experience working with Stars head coach Dave Tippett at the 2009 IIHF World Hockey Championship where the future Hall of Famer served as assistant GM on Canada's silver medal winning team.
"Spending the last month or so with him, I believe he's ready for this," Tippett told THE CANADIAN PRESS. "He is very methodical, very thoughtful in his approach. He thinks things through before he reacts to them. He was a hard player to play against because he would outthink you. I would imagine it's going to be the same as GM."
The Ontario native is no stranger to success on the ice, either, having played 20 seasons in the NHL, including seven with Dallas (1995-2002). He also had successful stints with the Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers.
Leafs president and GM Brian Burke had nothing but kind words for the team's now-former employee Nieuwendyk, saying, "we are very happy for Joe, and grateful for the fine work he performed for the Leafs."
The Stars are no doubt hoping that Nieuwendyk will bring his winning touch back to a Dallas franchise that struggled in 2008-09, going 36-35-11 and finishing 12th in the Western Conference, eight points out of a playoff position.
Stars captain Brendan Morrow was also excited about the move as Nieuwendyk helped serve as a sort of mentor when Morrow broke into the league with Dallas in 1999.
"This," Morrow said, "is just another step in getting that winning tradition back."
Nieuwendyk won a Stanley Cup with the Stars as a player in 1999 (along with Hull) and claimed the Conn Smythe Trophy following those playoffs, having led the team in scoring - it was the last time Dallas claimed the big prize. Nieuwendyk also won the Cup as a member of the Flames (1989) and the Devils (2003).
In 1,257 career regular season games, the 6'2, 209-pound forward amassed 564 goals and 562 assists for 1,126 points. His playoff career was also extremely productive, as he put up 66 goals and 50 assists in 158 career postseason matches.
Nieuwendyk also earned international accolades as a member of the gold medal-winning Canadian Olympic hockey team at Salt Lake City in 2002.
He takes over for Hull and Jackson, who were named the Stars' interim co-GMs on November 13, 2007, having the interim tag removed in May of 2008. Under that twosome, the Stars had a regular season record of 74-58-15, with one trip to the Western Conference finals in 2008.