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Thrashers extend GM Dudley for four more years

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

The Atlanta Thrashers re-signed General Manager Rick Dudley to a multiple-year contract extension Thursday, according to President Don Waddell.

"Rick has a proven track record of building successful teams and is dedicated to improving the Thrashers and constructing a perennial contender," said Waddell. "He has already taken great strides with our club and is committed to infusing our roster with key players. He has truly earned this opportunity and we look forward to his continued leadership."

Dudley, 62, joined the Thrashers as associate general manager on June 22, 2009 and was named the second general manager in franchise history on April 14, 2010.

"I'm excited to be part of this transformation and look forward to achieving our objective," said Dudley. "I firmly believe this team is heading in the right direction and we are continuing to piece the puzzle together in the proper way."

Prior to coming to Atlanta, Dudley spent five years with the Chicago Blackhawks, where he served as the team's assistant general manager for two seasons. He originally joined the Blackhawks in 2004 as a consultant and was named director of player personnel prior to the 2005-06 season.

Before joining the Blackhawks, Dudley served as the general manager of the Florida Panthers for two seasons (2002-03 to 2003-04), spent two-and-a-half seasons as senior vice president and general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning (1999-00 to 2001-02) and was general manager of the Ottawa Senators for one year (1998-99). He is credited with improving each organization he has managed, which includes playing a vital role in building the nucleus of the Lightning's Stanley Cup Championship team.

Dudley was the general manager for the Detroit Vipers of the former International Hockey League for four seasons before joining the Senators. With the Vipers, Dudley led the team to a 200-92-35 record and the 1997 Turner Cup Championship. Overall, as a general manager he has led his teams to the league finals on eight occasions and captured four championships in the American Hockey League, the IHL and the ECHL.

Dudley also has a lengthy and successful record as a head coach in both the NHL and minor leagues, earning a lifetime record of 592-321-105. He spent two-and-a-half seasons as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres from 1989-90 to 1991-92, posting an 85-72-31 record while leading the team to the playoffs on two occasions. During the 2003-04 season, he spent 40 games behind the bench of the Florida Panthers, earning a 13-15-9-3 record.

He has also served as a head coach with the Detroit Vipers (1994-95 to 1995-96), the Phoenix Roadrunners (1993-94), the San Diego Gulls (1992-93) and the Flint Spirits (1986-87 to 1987-88) of the IHL and the New Haven Nighthawks (1988-89) of the AHL and the Carolina Thunderbirds (1982-83 to 1985-86) of the ECHL.

The Toronto, Ontario, native played seven NHL seasons with Buffalo and Winnipeg, recording 174 points (75 goals, 99 assists) in 309 games. He also appeared in 270 World Hockey Association games over four seasons with the Cincinnati Stingers, where he earned 277 points (131 goals, 146 assists) and tallied back-to-back 40-goal seasons from 1975-76 to 1976-77.

After retiring as a player, Dudley became the owner, general manager and head coach of the ECHL's Carolina Thunderbirds. He also served as the league's president from 1983-86. Prior to retiring, he was part owner and vice president of the Ontario Hockey League's Belleville Bulls.