After an exhaustive four-week search, the Montreal Canadiens found their man as the club named Marc Bergevin as the 17th general manager in franchise history on Wednesday.
The 46-year-old Montreal native replaces Pierre Gauthier, who was fired in late March.
"I'm going to enjoy it, I'm going to have fun doing it and I'm going to make people in Montreal proud of it," said Bergevin at his introductory news conference. "I'm just a piece of the puzzle, we're all going to do this together."
And Bergevin didn't take long to make his mark, as his first task was moving interim head coach Randy Cunneyworth back to his original post as assistant coach. "Whoever becomes the new head coach will decide if Randy will remain," he confirmed. "I respect the way I was brought in as GM. I'll keep it confidential and low-key in the search for a head coach."
Bergevin is also keeping director of scouting Trevor Timmins and assistant GM Larry Carriere as part of his front office. "Trevor Timmins will be sitting next to me at our draft table in Pittsburgh. He's done an excellent job in the past," he said. "I've known (Larry Carriere) for the last seven years and he's well respected in the NHL."
Bergevin, who edged out former NHL on TSN analyst Pierre McGuire for the job, worked last season as the assistant general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks under Stan Bowman - his seventh with the franchise.
After his retirement as a player in 2004, Bergevin became a pro scout with the Blackhawks before serving as an assistant coach with Joel Quenneville. He was director of player personnel when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and was promoted to assistant general manager last June.
"I took this job because I'm ready," he told reporters. "I know I'm ready. Otherwise, I wouldn't be sitting here."
The Canadiens - led by a four-person committee including Canadiens owner and team president Geoff Molson and advisor Serge Savard - conducted an extensive search for a new GM after Gauthier's dismissal on Mar. 29.
Several candidates were contacted for the position, including former Colorado Avalanche GM Francois Giguere, Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Claude Loiselle, Jim Nill of the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild director of player personnel Blair Mackasey and Tampa Bay Lightning assistant GM Julien BriseBois.
"Today is the first step towards establishing a winning culture within our organization," said Molson. "Our priorities are as follows: improve the team in the short-term, re-establish a winning a culture over the long-term, give our fans what they deserve, the best possible product on the ice, and establish stability in all areas of the organization."
Bergevin enjoyed a 20-season career as an NHL defenceman, collecting 181 points in 1,191 regular season games with Chicago, the New York Islanders, Hartford Whalers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver.