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Hawks reward GM Bowman with three-year extension

by Staff Writer / Chicago Blackhawks

-- Stan Bowman has managed a Stanley Cup championship team, negotiated a sticky salary cap situation the following summer that forced him to dismantle a large portion of that team and also found a way to keep the Chicago Blackhawks competitive in the tough Western Conference.

That's not to mention the job the Blackhawks' vice president and general manager has done restocking Chicago's prospect roster with talented players the past two seasons. On Tuesday morning, the Hawks announced his reward for those accomplishments: A three-year contract extension that will keep Bowman in the Windy City until the end of the 2015-16 season.

"I'm very, very proud of the job that Stan has done," Blackhawks President and CEO John McDonough said. "He's very poised, he's very prepared and he's a very bright guy. He really works well within our system. We try something a little bit different here, where we have a collaboration between the business operation and the hockey operation and his group has really bought into that. We really like his decision-making process, the hiring process and the results we've seen in (his) two years."

The 38-year old Bowman is the youngest general manager in the NHL and is starting his 11th season as part of the Hawks organization -- the third as head of the team's hockey operations department. Bowman was promoted to the general manager position on July 14, 2009 and added the title of vice president in September 2010, after the Hawks ended a 49-year Stanley Cup drought by winning the championship in  2010.

"It's quite an honor," Bowman said of the extension. "I certainly want to thank (Hawks owner) Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough for their faith and excellent leadership over the years. I feel very proud to be a part of this organization. We've demonstrated our desire to bring excellence to the Blackhawks and the city of Chicago. We've got the best fans in the world here and they love watching our team and our exciting product, and we intend to keep it that way for a long time."

Arguably Bowman's most difficult task has been keeping the Hawks competitive after having to break up a large portion of the Cup-winning team because Chicago didn't have enough salary-cap room to keep it together. Bowman devised a plan to keep the team's core group of young stars in place with long-term contracts and worked to add role players around them.

It also helped last season to have rookie goalie Corey Crawford emerge as the team's best option midway through the season -- after Cup-winning goalie Antti Niemi was deemed too expensive to retain. This past offseason, Bowman added a handful of veterans via free agency and trades.

"I see a lot in Stan," McDonough said. "I have a lot of faith in what he's going to do going forward, how well prepared he is and the relationship that he's developed with (Hawks coach Joel Quenneville) and the coaching staff. I've seen his confidence grow both personally and professionally."

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