OTTAWA - Chris Byrne stepped down as general manager of the Ottawa 67's on Tuesday and was replaced by assistant GM Pat Higgins.
Byrne's resignation will take effect immediately as he pursues new challenges at the NHL level, the Ontario Hockey League team said in a release.
"I'm happy for Chris," said team governor Jeff Hunt. "He served us well as an assistant coach, head coach and most recently as general manager and it's great to know he's moving up to the NHL level. We wish him well."
Byrne coached and managed in the 67's organization for eight seasons. He served as both head coach and GM over the last three seasons.
"I'm thankful to Jeff and the 67's organization for a great experience in Ottawa and for allowing me to pursue my dream of working in the NHL," said Byrne. "This opportunity came up very recently and it really is something I couldn't turn down.
"I know the 67's have a great core of young, talented players and I wish them and the organization good luck in the future."
Details on his NHL plans were not immediately released.
Higgins, meanwhile, has spent over 20 seasons in the organization as a scout, assistant GM and head of scouting. He'll oversee all facets of hockey operations.
"I'm humbled and excited by the opportunity the 67's have given me," said Higgins. "We have a talented roster of new players joining a more experienced core group of veterans and I know great things are ahead for the fans. Thanks to Jeff, Chris and (former coach) Brian Kilrea for their roles in my development as a hockey operations leader."