Jim Nill won the NHL's Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year award on Wednesday night, and he naturally credited the entire organization for the honor.

"It's the sum of the parts," Nill said after out-polling Boston GM Don Sweeney and Florida GM Bill Zito. "It's about the people you surround yourself with and we've got great people. There are so many things that come into play when you're trying to win and everybody has to pull the rope at the same time, and we've got a group that does that."

Key members of the "group" said Nill is special. The 65-year-old who is in his 10th season with the Stars had a banner year, as he signed Jason Robertson, Jake Oettinger and Roope Hintz to contract extensions, made trades for Nils Lundkvist, Max Domi and Evgenii Dadonov, and hired Pete DeBoer as head coach. It all helped the Stars post a 37-21-14 record and advance to the Western Conference Final.

"I feel really good for Jim," said assistant GM Scott White. "I know he wants to share the wealth - he mentioned the whole organization tonight - but this is for him. He's done such a great job and I know we've all learned a lot both professionally and personally from him."

White and fellow assistant GM Mark Janko were carried over from the previous Stars administration by Nill when he took the job in 2013. Nill also brought in scouts Joe McDonnell and Mark Leach from Detroit at the time. All four have been with Nill his entire time in Dallas, and the GM said that kind of consistency is paramount in building an organization.

"I think the most important thing is you hire good people," Nill said. "They're there to challenge me and they do that. It's an important part of the business. We've been together a long time, a lot of us. They're hard-working and they're dedicated, and they make me look good."

It hasn't always been easy for Nill, and he said supportive staff helps to get through the tough times. Nill has made some great trades and some not-so-great ones. He has had success in recent drafts, but he also had some first-round picks that didn't pan out. He said a big part of being able to move forward is remaining honest and humble through the process.

"Well, you don't stay calm," he said when asked how he stays calm. "You have a game plan, and you stick to it. Now Game Plan A usually becomes B, C, or D, but you stick with it, and you challenge each other, and it's come together for us."

DeBoer said he has experienced a strong guiding hand in his first season with Nill.

"I was actually shocked when I heard it was the first one he has won. I assumed he had won it before with the work he has done over the years," DeBoer said. "He's known in the hockey world as a gentleman, a class act, a good guy to work for, and that's been exactly my experience."

The GM of the Year Award is voted on by all the NHL GMs, as well as a panel of hockey experts, after the second round of the playoffs. Nill finished with 91 points, Sweeney with 83 and Zito with 46. The Stars transformation to a team led by a young core was a major accomplishment, as was the ability to advance to the Third Round of the playoffs.

Nill gave credit to a group of mentors he had growing up and playing 10 years of pro hockey. He also credited several of his front office teammates who taught him valuable lessons during 19 seasons with the Red Wings.

"I've had a lot of special people in my life and in my journey," Nill said. "I'm very blessed that way."

Maybe the most important person is his wife Bekki, who battled cancer for nearly 25 years. Nill said Bekki encouraged him to take the Stars' job in 2013 even though it would move her away from her doctors in Detroit. He said she is a driving force in everything he does.

"She's an inspiration, she's been through so much," Nill said.

"When we're driving home after a game and I'm complaining and the next day she's going to chemo, the game wasn't that bad," Nill added. "It humbles you pretty quick."

And humble is a good word for Nill, who simply wanted to make sure everyone received credit for an award given to an individual.

"In typical Jim fashion, he thanked everybody he could," DeBoer said. "He's a class act."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.