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Oilers hire Chiarelli as president, general manager

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The Edmonton Oilers hired Peter Chiarelli as president of hockey operations and general manager Friday.

Kevin Lowe, former president of hockey operations, was reassigned outside of the hockey operations department but remains vice chair of Oilers Entertainment Group.

Craig MacTavish, who was general manager since 2013, remains with the Oilers but his role has not been established.

The Oilers also announced the resignation of Patrick LaForge, president and COO of the Oilers Entertainment Group.

"Peter is going to lead this group," Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson said. "He's going to be president of hockey operations and general manager. He's going to make sure that he has strong people around him, and I know that we're going to get this organization headed in the right direction."

The Boston Bruins fired Chiarelli on April 15 after nine years as GM. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and lost the Cup Final in 2013.

Boston missed the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, finishing two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference.

"This is a tough business and I've never been fired before," Chiarelli said. "I had nine good years in Boston and there were really good people there. Sometimes things have to change; whether I agree with them or not, I respect the process. But you just move on and you do what's best for your family. There is a lot of stuff that we built there in Boston and I'm proud of it and I wish them the best."

Nicholson was the CEO of Hockey Canada and Chiarelli part of the management group for Canada for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Nicholson said once Chiarelli became available he decided to make the change in management in Edmonton.

"We were going to make announcements when we were ready, but when Peter Chiarelli was made available to talk to us, that really sped this up," Nicholson said. "A person of Peter Chiarelli's caliber does not come around very often."

Edmonton's last playoff game was a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

Chiarelli, a Harvard University graduate, began his NHL career as assistant general manager of the Ottawa Senators before he was hired by the Bruins in 2006.

"I want to thank [owner] Daryl Katz, Bob and Kevin," Chiarelli said. "This happened really quickly, and one of the reasons it happened really quickly is because I've known them from before. I really like them, I respect them. I respect their hockey minds and I respect them as people, and it made it very easy to become comfortable with the situation."

The Oilers finished 28th in the League but won the NHL Draft Lottery, giving them the first pick for the fourth time in six years.

Edmonton is expected to select Erie Otters center Connor McDavid with the first pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, adding him to a roster that includes No. 1 picks Taylor Hall (2010), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011) and Nail Yakupov (2012).

"That pick certainly wasn't a deal-maker; the group here with Bob, Kevin and Daryl, the relationships there really helped out," Chiarelli said. "That pick is a tremendous pick. To try and move up from three or four in normal circumstances to get that pick, you couldn't do it. Especially with the caliber of player that is available. It was a huge cherry on top to have that, but the decision wouldn't have been any different."

Chiarelli inherits a young team that has lacked success since the Oilers decided to go a complete rebuild following the 2009-10 season.

"This team has got a lot of good pieces," Chiarelli said. "The way I handle these things, the way I managed, is nothing flashy. Although in the past I have made some trades and I'm not afraid to do that. It's about getting to know the people, getting to know the players, really instilling an attitude and a philosophy about winning and making the sacrifices that it takes to win."

Chiarelli needs to make a decision on a coach. Todd Nelson took over after Dallas Eakins was fired in December.

"I have to talk to Todd, and I can't give you a timeline [on a coach]," Chiarelli said. "Ideally, I'd like to have it all in a bow and tied up before the draft. My to-do list is pretty deep right now."

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