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Don Waddells is done, at least for now: Northern Michigan University hockey alumnus steps down as team president and general manager of NHL's Carolina Hurricanes | News, sports, jobs

Don Waddells is done, at least for now: Northern Michigan University hockey alumnus steps down as team president and general manager of NHL's Carolina Hurricanes |  News, sports, jobs

 


Don Waddell, head coach of the U.S. team, watches during a game between the United States and Germany during the German Hockey Tournament in Munich, Germany on November 13, 2011. (AP file photo)

Don Waddell of Northern Michigan University:

Don Waddell played during the first four years of Wildcat hockey from 1976-80

Even as a defender, he is in the top 10 of NMU's all-time leading scorers with 172 points, achieved in 120 games

In 1978, he was named Northern's MVP and CCHA Player of the Year

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Don Waddell, head coach of the U.S. team, gestures during the final game against Germany during the German Hockey Tournament in Munich, Germany, November 13, 2011. (AP file photo)

RALEIGH, N.C. – Don Waddell has stepped down as president and general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, ending a run that gave him a roster that reached the NHL playoffs six years in a row.

The team announced Waddell's decision in a news release Friday, saying assistant general manager Eric Tulsky would work as interim GM until a permanent successor was found.

Waddell, 65, played on the Northern Michigan University hockey team for its first four years from 1976 to 1980. Even as a defenseman, he still ranks among the top 10 scorers in Wildcats history, having amassed 172 points, including 52 goals, in 120 games played.

In 1978, he was named Wildcats' MVP and CCHA Player of the Year, and in 1980, his senior season, Northern won the CCHA and lost in the NCAA national championship game to North Dakota.

After his playing career at Northern, he was a provisional member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team before breaking his leg during a preliminary tournament, preventing him from making the team that famously won the Winter Olympics and then won the gold medal. a huge shock from the Soviet Union from which the 2004 film was made “Miracle.”

Waddell played one game with the Los Angeles Kings in the 1980-81 season and then spent the remainder of his playing career in the minor leagues and in Europe during the 1987-88 season.

He then moved into coaching for several years before moving into NHL team management, although he had several short stints as interim head coach from the front office.

He started in the front office of the Flint Spirits of the International Hockey League, the last team he played for, serving part of the time as a player-coach. After stints with several other minor league teams, he became assistant general manager of the Detroit Red Wings for the 1997-98 season, a year in which they won the Stanley Cup.

He then moved to the Atlanta Thrashers as general manager from 1998-2010 and team president in the 2010-2011 season. He left that organization when the Thrashers became the Winnipeg Jets.

After a brief stint as a scout with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he returned to NHL management with the Hurricanes in July 2014, where he oversaw business operations for the past ten seasons.

He was named GM in May 2018 when the Hurricanes missed the playoffs for the ninth straight year and played a key role in Carolina building a perennial playoff team, with at least one series win in all six postseasons since then .

Carolina lost in the second round to the Presidents' Trophy-winning New York Rangers this year, while Waddell and coach Rod Brind'Amour held their season-ending press conference earlier this week. That came when Brind'Amour, who took over to guide Carolina's climb, re-signed with the team to a multi-year deal.

“This morning I spoke with (majority shareholder Tom Dundon) and told him that I have come to the decision that now is the time to move on to the next chapter of my career,” Waddell said in a statement.

“I have enjoyed my experiences in the Triangle (in central North Carolina) over the past decade, and together with a strong team both on and off the ice, we have had many great wins. I am grateful for the support I have received from so many loyal Caniacs. This organization is in strong, capable hands and well positioned for the future.”

The Columbus Blue Jackets are the only team with an active GM vacancy, and Waddell is rumored to be among the candidates.

Tulsky spent 10 seasons with the Hurricanes, first as a consultant before holding positions as hockey analyst, manager of hockey analytics and vice president of hockey management and strategy. He has served as assistant GM since 2020, including overseeing the team's professional scouting and hockey information departments, as well as assisting with player contract negotiations and salary cap compliance.

The team said assistant general manager Darren Yorke will also support Tulsky in carrying out management duties.

Some of the information in this story was compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is [email protected].

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