Dallas Stars Owner and Governor Tom Gaglardi and President, Chief Executive Officer and Alternate Governor Jim Lites today announced that the club has signed General Manager Jim Nill to five-year contract extension. The extension will run through the 2022-23 regular season. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"In just over two years, Jim has helped instill a culture of excellence within our organization and extending that partnership to 2022-23 is vital for the direction of the hockey club," stated Gaglardi. "From the day he stepped into this role, he has displayed tremendous decision-making in the re-tooling of our group and we're excited to build upon the foundation that has been laid. We feel he is one of the best general managers in our League and we are thrilled he is so committed to us."
Nill, 57, is in his third season with the Stars as he was named the team's 11th general manager, and sixth general manager since moving to Dallas, on April 29, 2013. The team currently leads the Western Conference with 62 points on the season with a record of 29-10-4, which marks the best start in franchise history after 43 games played. In his two plus seasons on the job, the club has amassed a record of 110-72-25 and earned a playoff berth in 2013-14.
"Jim Nill was on everyone's short list for a long time and being able to hire to him to lead the hockey department was monumental for the Dallas Stars," said Lites. "He's brought a stability to our franchise and the commitment he's shown by extending his deal five years displays just how confident he is in our young core group of players. He and his wife, Bekki, are our great friends and truly tremendous people. We're lucky to have them as a part of the fabric of the Dallas-Fort Worth area."
Since joining the Stars, Nill has dramatically re-shaped the team's culture and roster with a series of trades and acquisitions. In the summer of 2013, he hired veteran coach Lindy Ruff to serve as the team's head coach and acquired young superstar center, Tyler Seguin, in a blockbuster, seven-player deal with the Boston Bruins. Seeing the need for continued depth at the center position, Nill once again made headlines in the 2014 offseason by bringing in center Jason Spezza via trade with Ottawa to give the Stars one of the most dynamic one-two combinations in the NHL. This past summer, he acquired three-time Stanley Cup champion Patrick Sharp in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks and signed free agent defenseman Johnny Oduya and goaltender Antti Niemi.
"First and foremost, I want to thank the Gaglardi family and Jim Lites for their commitment to what we are building," said Nill. "I've said over and over again, just how special of a group we have here in Dallas, and developing and maintaining a winning organization is something I look forward to over the next seven years. My wife, Bekki, and I love the area and we truly call it our home."
At the end of the 2014-15 season, Nill was named general manager of Canada's National Team for the 2015 IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic and constructed a roster that captured the gold medal at the tournament. Under his leadership, Team Canada touted a perfect 10-0 record and featured Dallas Stars players Seguin, Cody Eakin and Spezza, who was named the top forward of the tournament by the IIHF directorate. Previously, Nill has won gold medals when he served as general manager for Team Canada at the 2004 IIHF World Championship and as assistant general manager at the 2003 IIHF World Championship.
Prior to joining the Stars, Nill spent a total of 19 seasons as a member of the Detroit Red Wings management team, the last 15 of those as the team's assistant general manager. His responsibilities with Detroit included directing the amateur scouting department, overseeing all selections at the NHL Draft, as well as managing the development of the organization's prospects at both the professional and amateur levels. During Nill's tenure in Detroit, the Red Wings had more wins than any other franchise in the National Hockey League, won four Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008), six Presidents' Trophies (1995, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008), 12 Central Division titles (1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011), seven regular season Western Conference titles (1995, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008), and never missed the playoffs. He was an integral part of Detroit's drafting of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Valtteri Filppula, Jimmy Howard and Johan Franzen, amongst others.
The Hanna, Alta., native joined the Red Wings' front office in the summer of 1994 following three seasons with the Ottawa Senators. Previously, Nill enjoyed a nine-season NHL career as a right wing with the Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets and Red Wings. He collected 58 goals, 87 assists and 854 penalty minutes in 524 regular-season games. Nill later went to Adirondack as a player/coach, retiring as a player after the 1990-91 season. A member of the 1979-80 Canadian National and Olympic teams, he was originally selected by the St. Louis Blues in the fifth round (89th overall) of the 1978 NHL Draft.