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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

(PRESS RELEASE: Penguins will not renew Patrick's contract)

For the first time since 1989, the Pittsburgh Penguins will have a different general manager.

Penguins CEO Ken Sawyer said Thursday that the team will not renew Craig Patrick’s contract. Sawyer will begin the search for a new general manager immediately.

“I have known Craig for almost 25 years and have always had great respect for him and I always will,” Sawyer said. “He’s been an integral part of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization since 1989 and led the team to two Stanley Cup and five division championships. He’s a deserved member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Penguins and our fans always will be very grateful for Craig.

“This was a difficult decision we did not take lightly. It involved all members of our board and after much discussion, we all came to the same conclusion – it was time to make a change and move forward with the next generation team under new leadership.”

Patrick, who served as assistant coach and general manager of the gold medal-winning 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, had been with the Penguins since December, 1989. He also was the general manager of the silver medal-winning U.S. team at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.

“I am sure that Craig will have many opportunities in hockey,” Sawyer said. “Speaking for Mario [Lemieux] and the rest of the organization, we wish all the best for himself and his family.”

Sawyer hopes to have a new general manager in place as soon as possible, but would not put limitations on the search for the right candidate.

“I am not rushing this. I am going to do this as a matter of process. I want to make sure I am very comfortable with who we bring on board. I will let it take its time. We’ll get through this,” he said. “I won’t narrow [the search]. I think there’s a variety of experience you could have: assistant GM, former GM, an agent, none of the above – we’ll measure that as we measure the candidates.

“We believe the future of this franchise is very bright and we believe there are a lot of strong candidates out there who will be able to come forward and lead this team to our ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup again and hopefully again and again,” he continued. “We felt it was time to turn the page and put in someone new to be the general manager of this next generation we’ve created.”

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