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Hartford GM Jim Schoenfeld to Assume Head Coaching Duties

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that Hartford Wolf Pack General Manager Jim Schoenfeld will assume head coaching responsibilities for the Wolf Pack. Schoenfeld will be joined behind the bench by former Ranger and Hartford Whaler Ulf Samuelsson and long-time Wolf Pack Captain Ken Gernander.

"Jim is a proven teacher of this game and is well-versed on the prospects that we have in our development system," stated Sather. "Our organizational philosophy is to build from within, which places a tremendous emphasis on allowing our young talent to grow and develop at the minor league level. We are confident that with Jim's guidance, our kids will have a great chance to evolve into future Rangers."

Schoenfeld, 52, has served as general manager of the Wolf Pack since the 2003-04 season, overseeing all hockey-related issues matters for the club. Prior to joining the Hartford operation, he served as an assistant coach with the Rangers for the 2002-03 campaign. He joined the Rangers after serving as a lead analyst for ESPN's National Hockey Night from 1999 through 2002. A veteran of 10 seasons in the National Hockey League as a head coach, he has compiled a 256-246-78 record (.509 winning percentage) with the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals and the Phoenix Coyotes.

"I look forward to the challenge of working with our young talent," said Schoenfeld. "I feel that the organization is on the right track in regards to building its own core of players, and we will continue to support this philosophy here in Hartford. Our objective will be to put a hard-working, energetic product on the ice for our fans, while ensuring the continued development of the Rangers top prospects."

Prior to his second and most recent tenure in broadcasting, Schoenfeld guided Phoenix to a record of 72-66-24 over the course of the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons. During the 1998-99 campaign, Schoenfeld's Coyotes posted a 39-31-12 record, ranking second in franchise history for most victories in a single season. For his efforts that season, he was selected to represent Phoenix at the 1999 NHL All-Star Game as a member of the North American team's coaching staff.

After leaving ESPN to assume head coaching duties of the Washington Capitals on January 27, 1994, Schoenfeld posted a record of 113-102-34 (.522 winning percentage) in 249 games and three-plus seasons. He ranks fourth in Capitals' history in games coached (249), victories (113) and winning percentage (.522). Schoenfeld guided the New Jersey Devils from January 26, 1988 through November 6, 1990, leading the club to a record of 50-59-15 in 124 games. During the 1987-88 season, he was responsible for leading the Devils to the team's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff appearance, taking the club to within one game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Schoenfeld made his NHL head coaching debut with the Buffalo Sabres during the 1985-86 season, where he directed the team until January 15, before general manager Scotty Bowman resumed his coaching career. He also served as head coach of Buffalo's top American Hockey League affiliate, the Rochester Americans, for a portion of the 1984-85 season. Schoenfeld's stint behind the Americans' bench ended when he came out of retirement and rejoined the Sabres' active lineup on December 19, 1984.

A veteran of 13 seasons in the National Hockey League, Schoenfeld appeared in 719 games with the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins from 1972-73 through 1984-85. A former captain of the Buffalo Sabres, he registered 51 goals and 204 assists for 255 points, along with 1,132 penalty minutes. Originally selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the first round, 5th overall, in the 1972 NHL Entry Draft, he is a member of the Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame.

Samuelsson, 41, joins the Hartford organization in his professional coaching debut, after concluding a 16-year NHL career in 1999-00. Samuelsson appeared in 1,080 career NHL contests with the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and Rangers, registering 57 goals and 275 assists for 332 points, along with 2,453 penalty minutes. He was a member of the 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup championship teams in Pittsburgh and also participated on the NHL All-Star team in Rendez-Vous '87 vs. the Soviet Union.

Originally selected by the Whalers with the 67th overall pick in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, Samuelsson appeared in 463 games for the club, registering 31 goals and 144 assists for 175 points. He ranks fourth all-time in the organization with 1,110 career penalty minutes. He was named the club's top defenseman in 1987 and 1988 and team MVP in 1988. As a Ranger, Samuelsson skated in 287 games between 1995 and 1999, recording 14 goals and 46 assists for 60 points, along with 475 penalty minutes.

A native of Fargesta, Sweden, Samuelsson represented his country in several international competitions, including the 1981 World Junior Championships; 1984 Swedish Cup; 1989 World Championships; 1991 Canada Cup and the 1998 Winter Olympics. Prior to joining the National Hockey League ranks, he skated three seasons with Leksand of the Swedish Elite League. Most recently, Samuelsson served as assistant coach for Avon Old Farms during the 2004-05 season, helping guide the club to the team's second consecutive Division I Prep Championship after ranking first in Hockey Night In Boston's Division I Top 15 with a 25-2-0.

Gernander, 36, steps behind the Wolf Pack bench after concluding an illustrious 14-year playing career this past April. A member of the Rangers organization since signing as a free agent in 1994, Gernander has served as captain of the club's top minor league affiliate in each of the last 10 years (All eight years of Hartford's existence, plus the final two seasons in Binghamton).

The native of Coleraine, Minnesota accumulated 637 points (300 goals, 337 assists) in 986 games with the Fort Wayne Komets of the International Hockey League (IHL) and the Moncton Hawks, Binghamton Rangers and Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL). Gernander is the highest-scoring American-born player (293-331-624) and ranks eighth all-time in AHL games played (973) in AHL history. He is the Wolf Pack's all-time franchise record-holder in points (347), games-played (599) and playoff games-played (78). Gernander also ranks second all-time in goals (160) and assists (187) in Hartford franchise history. In Calder Cup playoff action, he has recorded 27 goals and 29 assists for 56 points, along with 20 penalty minutes in his 123 career post-season games. On April 26, 2005, he established a new AHL record for most playoff game appearances when he skated in his 121st post-season outing vs. Lowell, surpassing Fred Glover.

A three-time AHL All-Star, Gernander also captained the 1999 PlanetUSA team at the AHL All-Star Classic in Philadelphia. He was twice voted recipient of the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award for sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey in 1996 and 2004. As a member of the Wolf Pack, he was voted team MVP in 1998 and recipient of the "Bob Girouard Memorial Character" award in 2002, best defensive forward in 2002 and an American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year nominee in 2004.

A four-year letterman at the University of Minnesota, Gernander was originally drafted by Winnipeg with the 96th overall choice in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. For his NHL career, he skated in 12 contests, all with the Rangers, registering two goals and three assists for five points, along with 15 penalty minutes. In addition, Gernander appeared in 15 Stanley Cup playoff games for New York.

Former Wolf Pack Assistant Coach Nick Fotiu will join the Rangers scouting staff as a professional scout.
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