Islanders fire GM Smith, hire Snow
7/18/2006 9:16:17 PM
Just 40 days after being naming Neil Smith as general manager, the New Islanders decided it was time for a fresh new face.
The team announced on Tuesday that they have fired Smith and hired former Islanders goaltender Garth Snow as the new general manager.
"I spoke with Garth at length throughout the spring about the general manager's position and he really impressed me with his passion and his knowledge," said Islanders owner Charles Wang.
"When the job opened up, the choice was an easy one. Garth knows the league as well as anyone, has an eye for talent and understands how our staff works as a team. Most importantly, Garth is a man of integrity, someone I trust will work hard, be creative and represent the Islanders with dignity."
Snow joins a hockey operations staff that also includes head coach Ted Nolan, player development director Bryan Trottier, chief amateur scout Tony Feltrin and pro scouting director Ken Morrow. He becomes just the fourth person in NHL history to go from being a player in one season to general manager in the following season. Jack Adams played for the Ottawa Senators in 1926-27 and became GM of the Detroit Cougars in 1927-28, Bob Clarke played his last season for the Philadelphia Flyers in 1982-83 and became GM in 1983-84, and Serge Savard played his final season for the Winnipeg Jets in 1982-83 before returning to the Montreal Canadiens as GM for the 1983-84 season.
"This is a proud moment for me, a dream come true," said Snow.
"It's an opportunity I wanted more than anything. I look forward to working with Ted, Pat, Bryan and the scouts. Islander fans can be assured that this franchise is going to do everything in its power to bring another Stanley Cup to Long Island."
Smith was hired as GM of the Islanders during the Stanley Cup final, at the same time the team hired Nolan as head coach.
He replaced Mike Milbury, who announced in January he would step down from the position after helping find a replacement. Milbury assumed a position as vice president of Wang's sports properties.
Smith was the New York Rangers' GM from 1989-2000 and assembled the team that ended their 54-year Stanley Cup championship drought in 1994. He worked as a television analyst after being fired by the team after the 1999-2000 season. He first served as a scout with the Isles and owns a Stanley Cup ring from the 1981-82 season before taking a job as scout with the Detroit Red Wings.
Over the last three weeks, Smith worked to make quick improvements to the Islanders lineup by adding free agent forwards Chris Simon, Mike Sillinger, and Andy Hilbert, as well as defencemen Brendan Witt and Tom Poti.
"As I made clear at the press conference last month, we are running this as a business, incorporating the opinions of our hockey operations staff - including Ted Nolan, Bryan Trottier and Pat LaFontaine," said Wang. "Despite Neil's commitment to me that he could work in this environment, he later expressed to me on a number of occasions his philosophical opposition to our business model.
"In light of our differences, I felt that I had no choice but to make this decision in the best interests of the Islanders and our fans. I'm very proud of our draft and the roster additions our staff made this month. Our fans should know that with Ted, Garth, Bryan and Pat helping to lead the way, the Islanders are in very good hands."