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Holmgren Named General Manager for Remainder of Season

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers

(November 11) - The Philadelphia Flyers named Paul Holmgren as general manager through the remainder of the 2006-07 season, according to Flyers Chairman Ed Snider.

"Paul has been working very hard and I felt that it was important at this time to provide him with some stability in his position which will help him with the tasks at hand," said Snider.

Holmgren was named interim general manager on October 22, 2006, replacing Bob Clarke who resigned. Prior to his promotion, Holmgren had served the last seven seasons as the team's assistant general manager. He was named to this position on June 14, 1999, after serving as Flyers' director of player personnel from August 6, 1997. He served over parts of two seasons as director of pro scouting after replacing Bill Barber as the Flyers' director of pro scouting when Barber was named head coach of the Hershey Bears on December 30, 1995. Holmgren rejoined the Flyers organization as a scout after being replaced as the Hartford Whalers' head coach on November 6, 1995.

Over parts of four seasons (1992-93 to 1995-96), Holmgren compiled a 59-93-14 record as head coach of the Whalers. He was re-appointed as head coach of the Whalers by team President and General Manager Jim Rutherford on June 28, 1994 after stepping down as the Whalers' head coach 17 games into the 1993-94 season to concentrate on his duties as general manager. He was named general manager and head coach of the Whalers prior to the start of the 1993-94 season. He was named head coach of the Whalers on June 15, 1992.

Holmgren served as Flyers head coach for four seasons (1988-89 to 1991-92), compiling a 107-126-31 record. He was named head coach of the Flyers on June 1, 1988, after serving three seasons as an assistant coach with the club. He was the first former Flyer to be named head coach of the team.

His international experience includes serving as general manager for the 2006 U.S. National Team for the IIHF World Championships, assistant general manager of the U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team that competed in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games and an assistant coach for Team USA at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games and at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey Tournament.

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Holmgren retired from playing after the 1984-85 season, having recorded 144 goals and 179 assists for 323 points and 1,684 penalty minutes in 527 career regular season NHL games with the Flyers and the Minnesota North Stars. He was traded to the North Stars by the Flyers in exchange for Paul Guay and a third round pick in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft on February 23, 1984. Holmgren recorded 138 goals and 171 assists for 309 points and 1,600 penalty minutes in 500 games over parts of nine seasons with the Flyers (1975-76 to 1983-84). His 1,600 penalty minutes with the Flyers are second all-time in club history. Holmgren was drafted from the University of Minnesota by the Flyers in the sixth round (108th overall) of the 1975 NHL Entry Draft.

Paul and his wife, Doreen, reside in Somerdale, New Jersey. He has four children: Jason, Kirsten, Wes, and Greta.

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Holmgren met with reporters prior to the Flyers/Sabres game on Saturday. Below is a transcript.

What does this mean for you for the rest of the season and how does it affect the job you are doing now?
Holmgren: "I think if anything it probably just gives a little more credence to it and hopefully it brings a little bit more stability to what's going on. I think everybody was questioning who is in charge and now at least for the time being I think that has been put aside. I think we can move forward now and try to right the ship a little bit."

Is this for until the end of the season only?
Holmgren: "Right now yes, until the end of the season."

Did you get an extension on your contract (prior to the start of the year)?
Holmgren: "I have this year and two years left on my contract anyway. No extension."

Can you talk about the challenge of trying to do something here with the salary cap and the fact that there have been no trades at all this year in the NHL?
Holmgren: "I think there are a few factors involved. A lot of time it's money for money and your problem for my problem. But I also think there hasn't been a big enough gap separated between the top teams and the teams that look like they are out of it. Buffalo, Atlanta in the East, maybe put a little substantial distance in between the bottom and the top teams like ours right now. But why would they make any move right now? They are going to sit back and wait because they are in a good position. I think there are a bunch of teams that are in the middle of the road that really don't know the identity of their team yet and don't really know what they need. They are probably looking at some things and like a lot of teams have not decided which way to go yet."

Have you been waiting to be named General Manager to try and make a move?
Holmgren: "No. We have been trying to do - - well not trying to do but certainly fishing and talking to a lot of teams to see what is available and what we can possibly (do) and nothing has really made sense. The worst thing that we can do right now is make a bad deal. As I have said before, a lot of teams have asked and continue to ask for our younger players and I don't feel that that is the right way to go for this organization. I think it's just the wrong thing to do."

Over the summer Ed Snider called Simon Gagne one of several untouchable players that you do not want to see traded - to keep the youth foundation. Do you have the authority that if a deal comes along you can trade one of these top players?
Holmgren: "Absolutely. I have full authority to do whatever I feel is necessary to make the hockey club better. Trading Simon Gagne I just can't see a deal - - to me he is one of he top left wings in the game. Does that mean he's not going to be traded - no. But we are certainly not going to actively try to trade Simon. If you move a guy like that you end up looking for a guy just like him."

(Peter) Forsberg said that one of the reasons he came here and wants to stay here was because of (Bob) Clarke. By extension to the fact that you and Bob were sort of the same team together, does that mean that Peter may have the same feelings towards you and you have the same feelings towards him?
Holmgren: "I hope so. We've talked to Peter since all the changes here and in Peter's mind right now he is not prepared to delve into the future until we can figure out what is going with his foot. Until we do, that he does not know and he does not want to make any commitments. I said all along we can live with that, right now we are trying everything possible to get to the bottom of all that is going on with his skates and his ankle."

Have you assured him that in your mind that that is not the thing that is holding it (contract talks) up on your end?
Holmgren: "He knows. It's Peter's reluctance to get into it. He's just not sure about his own future right now before we can figure things out. I don't think it has anything to do with us. He's basically told, I know he told Bob that he does not want to be anywhere else but he and he's basically said the same thing to me."

Will Forsberg be going to Pittsburgh tomorrow?
Holmgren: "He's going with the team but he won't play. He's going from Pittsburgh to Cleveland to see Dr. Brian Donley at the Cleveland Clinic and try to get his ankle and skate issue put to bed. We believe we found a solution to his problems and we are hoping he can get fitted with a brace at the Cleveland Clinic. They are going to try it out on the ice on Monday and parts of Tuesday and right now Peter is scheduled to meet up with the team Tuesday night in Anaheim."

Is being named General Manager a relief for you?
Holmgren: "I said earlier with the interim tag, I didn't have a problem with it and I think right now it gives a little bit more stability to the franchise and to the organization. But personally I still know I can do this job and I know the steps we need to take to right this ship and I feel confident. It's a result-oriented business. I have said that a number of times and nothing is guaranteed here or in life. I was raised to do the best I can and work the hardest I can, that is what my father always preached to me and that is just the way I approach life. I was comfortable with the interim."
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