"I am very excited about returning to the Dallas Stars as General Manager. 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."
-- Joe Nieuwendyk
Nieuwendyk, who helped lead the Stars to back-to-back appearances in the Stanley Cup Final in 1999 and 2000, was named the team's new General Manager on Sunday.
"I am ready for this opportunity," said Nieuwendyk, the Conn Smythe winner in the 1999 championship season. "The Dallas Stars have built a winning tradition over the years and I want to help continue that legacy."
Dallas Stars Owner Thomas O. Hicks announced he has restructured the NHL club's hockey management staff, reassigning Co-General Managers Brett Hull and Les Jackson. Hull will now serve as Executive Vice President and Alternate Governor while Jackson will return to his long-time role as Director of Scouting and Player Development.
Hicks praised Nieuwendyk's management abilities and said the time was now for him to be given a chance at running an NHL team.
"He's intelligent, he's experienced, he's meticulous, he's somebody who people have compared to Bob Gainey," Hicks said. "He's had the opportunity to see how the job is done with two different teams, and he has been a player on three different teams that have won Stanley Cups, so I believe he's more than prepared for this opportunity."
The Stars will hold a press conference Monday at 3 p.m. Central Time at American Airlines Center to formally introduce Nieuwendyk as General Manager. Both Hicks and Nieuwendyk will be at the press conference.
Nieuwendyk, 42, is considered by many to be one of the top up-and-coming hockey executives in the League today. The former Stars player returns to Dallas from the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he served as Special Assistant to the General Manager this past season.
Toronto president and GM Brian Burke had nothing but kind words for the team's now-former employee, saying, "we are very happy for Joe, and grateful for the fine work he performed for the Leafs."
Prior to joining the Leafs and after his retirement in 2006, Nieuwendyk worked as a Special Consultant to the General Manager with the Florida Panthers. As Assistant General Manager, he also helped lead Team Canada at the 2009 IIHF World Hockey Championship when the team won a silver medal.
"I am very excited about returning to the Dallas Stars as General Manager," Nieuwendyk said. "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."
A veteran of 20 seasons as a player in the National Hockey League, Nieuwendyk played seven with the Dallas Stars (1995-2002). He won the Stanley Cup for three different teams, in three different decades (Calgary in 1989, Dallas in 1999, New Jersey in 2003). Nieuwendyk was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Stanley Cup Playoffs most valuable player in 1999 when he led Dallas in post-season scoring on their way to winning the Stanley Cup.
The Whitby, Ontario, native played in 1,257 NHL games, scoring 564 goals and 562 assists for 1,126 points. He also appeared in 158 career playoff games, recording 116 points on 66 goals and 50 assists. Nieuwendyk played in 442 games for Dallas, scoring 178 goals and 162 assists for 340 points.
Hull and Jackson were named as the Stars' Interim Co-General Managers on Nov. 13, 2007. The interim tag was removed last May. The Stars amassed a 74-58-15 regular season record under Hull and Jackson, with a trip to the 2008 Western Conference Finals. But they foundered early this season following the controversial signing off Sean Avery, then rebounded after Avery was jettisoned in December only to struggle again down the stretch and finish 12th in the West with a 36-35-11 record.
"It can be complicated, and there is something to be said for a single voice," Hicks said. "There's probably a reason more people don't try [two people]."
Hull, 44, played 19 years in the NHL and is a two-time winner of the Stanley Cup (Dallas in 1999, Detroit in 2002). He joined the Stars' front office in 2005 as a Special Assistant upon his retirement as a player.
Jackson, 55, has worked in the Stars organization for 22 years, dating back to the team's days in Minnesota, spending much of it managing and overseeing scouting and monitoring the development of all amateur and professional prospects.
"Les's first love is scouting, and he's spectacular at it, so he definitely helps us there," Hicks said. "And we need Brett to help find new ways to produce money for this team. He'll work with me and [team president] Jeff Cogen, and I've always seen him as a man with strong ideas, so we're hoping he'll have ideas how to help us there. It's a big job for all of us."