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Canes name Waddell president of Gale Force

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

 

The Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday named Don Waddell president of Gale Force Sports and Entertainment.

Waddell replaces Jim Rutherford, who had served as president and general manager. Ron Francis is now serving as general manager and overseeing hockey duties.

“Don is a very experienced and well-respected hockey executive,” said Canes owner Pete Karmanos. “He will bring a fresh approach to the business side of the Carolina Hurricanes.”

Waddell, 55, spent the last three seasons as a professional scout with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Prior to joining the Penguins in January 2012, Waddell was general manager of the Atlanta Thrashers from the team’s founding in 1998, until 2010 when he took the role of team president.

Waddell also served as executive vice president and co-chair of the executive committee of the Atlanta Spirit, the parent company of the Thrashers, the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena. He won the Stanley Cup as assistant general manager of the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98.

Prior to becoming an NHL executive, Waddell helped build and guide two International Hockey League (IHL) franchises in San Diego (1990-95) and Orlando (1995-97) as those clubs’ executive vice president and general manager. While in Orlando, he was vice president of RDV Sports and served on the executive committee that oversaw the NBA’s Orlando Magic, the IHL’s Orlando Solar Bears and the company’s retail and aviation interests. Waddell was twice named IHL executive of the year (1992-93 and 1995-96).

Waddell played four seasons of Division I collegiate hockey from 1976-80 at Northern Michigan University where he majored in business management. Waddell played more than nine seasons of professional hockey, spending the final years of his playing career as player/coach of the IHL’s Toledo Goaldiggers (1985-86) and Flint Spirits (1986-88). He also served as head coach of the San Diego Gulls in 1991-92, and was interim head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers on two occasions during his tenure with the club.

Waddell is a Detroit native.

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