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Wild adds Ferreira to staff as senior advisor

Former North Stars GM, three-time Stanley Cup champion has lengthy history with new Wild GM Paul Fenton

by Dan Myers @DanMyers /

ST. PAUL -- After nearly three decades, Jack Ferreira's hockey career will come full circle.

The 73-year-old former general manager of the Minnesota North Stars, who moved with ownership to the San Jose Sharks organization in 1990, has been hired as a senior advisor to new Wild General Manager Paul Fenton.

Fenton finished his playing career for Ferreira's Sharks during the 1991-92 season, then began his front office career under Ferreira with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 1993.

 Video: Wild GM, Jack Ferreira discuss reunion with Wild

In the past, Fenton has referred to Ferreira as his mentor in hockey; now, the two will get a chance to work together again.

"He's certainly one of the people who has influenced my career, not only from when I was a kid playing, but all the advice he's given me over the years," Fenton said. "I learned so much working for him in Anaheim and continuing a relationship as we've gone forward in professional hockey. I look forward to having him here as a really good guidance piece."

"The most important thing is working with Paul. We've been together since he was 15 years old," said Ferreira. "I'm just anxious to get here. What I love doing is putting teams together and helping out with anything. I've done practically everything in pro hockey, so anywhere I can help him, I'll do."

A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Ferreira played college hockey -- like Fenton -- at Boston University, where he was an All-American goaltender in the mid-1960s. 

Ferreira got into coaching after that, serving as a collegiate assistant from 1967-72 at West Point, Princeton and Brown. 

Ferreira then moved into the front office, serving as head scout, assistant coach and assistant general manager for the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association from 1972-77, then as a scout for NHL Central Scouting from 1977-80 before joining the Calgary Flames as a scout from 1980-86.

He also worked as director of player development for the New York Rangers from 1986-88 before getting his first chance at a GM job with the North Stars in 1988. 

Ferreira was officially hired a few days after the club selected Mike Modano with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1988 Draft, but Ferreira helped influence the selection of the Hall-of-Fame winger.

His time with the Stars was short, however; team owner George Gund sold the franchise to Norm Green with an agreement the League would award Gund a franchise in Northern California, which became the San Jose Sharks.

Gund brought Ferreira with him to the Bay Area, where he worked for two years. He won a Stanley Cup in his only season as director of pro scouting with the Montreal Canadiens in 1993 before moving back down the California coast to help build another expansion franchise in Anaheim.

Ferreira hired Fenton as a scout in Anaheim after the latter's bid for a coaching job with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst fell through. 

After missing out on the job, Fenton phoned Ferreira to tell him the news.

"His first reaction was, 'Good, because I want you to come work for me,'" Fenton said last month. 

At that moment, Fenton's career in management was born, and in 1993 -- each's first year with the Mighty Ducks -- the franchise selected Hall of Famer Paul Kariya with the fourth overall pick in the draft.

Three years later, Ferreira spearheaded the deal that brought Teemu Selanne to Orange County from the Winnipeg Jets, a franchise-altering trade that changed the landscape of hockey in the region.

In 1998, Ferreira received a call from David Poile, who had just been named GM of the expansion franchise in Nashville. Poile was looking for someone to help run his drafts.

"He wanted somebody who was good, so I recommended Paul," Ferreira said. "He interviewed, he got the job and he's been there ever since."

Ferreira has served in a number of advisory roles in the years since leaving the Ducks in 2000. He spent six seasons as director of player personnel with the Atlanta Thrashers and -- most recently -- 12 as a senior advisor for the Los Angeles Kings, a span that included a pair of Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and 2014.

Ferreira and the Kings organization parted ways last month, an opportunity that allows him to return to Minnesota and work with his protégé of nearly 30 years.

"Everything in hockey that he's ever accomplished, he's had to work his butt off for," Ferreira said of Fenton. "As a player, in management, in scouting, in everything ... he's earned it. I was excited for him when he finally got the call to come here."

In a relationship that has lasted more than 40 years, one that has included time as player-coach and manager-scout, this will be the first time Ferreira will be taking orders from Fenton.

But Ferreira said he can't wait to get going.

"I have no problem with it," Ferreira said with a laugh. "I told him there's going to be issues where we don't agree. But we're going to be united. He'll have the final say, and whatever we do, I'm going to back him. We're not going to see eye-to-eye all the time."

"I like to have good, spirited conversations about what we think we have and what we need," Fenton said. "His experience over the last 50-plus years in hockey is incredible and I'm going to lean on him to give me advice when there's some things that you really need help on."

In addition to three Stanley Cups, Ferreira was assistant GM for Team USA at the World Cup in 1996, a group that won the gold medal. 

"He showed me a picture of all his championship rings the other day. They were small on his phone, but it just goes to show the success that he's had and the leadership he's been able to provide to different teams in order to get championships," Fenton said. "That's what we're looking forward to here."


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