Flyers extend contract of GM Paul Holmgren

FILE - This Dec. 4, 2009, file photo shows Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren at a news conference, in Philadelphia. A person familiar with the deal says the Flyers have given Holmgren a three-year contract extension.The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, because the extension has not yet been announced.(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

January 18, 2011 12:55:21 PM PST
The Philadelphia Flyers announced Tuesday that general manager Paul Holmgren has signed a three-year contract extension.

"I'm particularly proud of the job Paul Holmgren has done with our hockey club and excited to offer him this three-year extension," said Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider. "He continuously finds the right opportunities to improve our team and get us closer to our ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup."

"Paul has done and continues to do a fabulous job in putting together a very competitive team on the ice for us," said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. "We felt based on many of Paul's recent successes, including last season's run through the Final and the tenacity of our team this season, that this was the right time to offer him a contract extension. This sends a message to our fans, players and coaches that we are committed to winning and our organization will be stable for years to come."

"I am extremely grateful to Mr. Snider and to Peter Luukko for this contract extension," said Holmgren. "I look forward to working closely with them, the coaches and our players in pursuit of our goal of winning the Stanley Cup."

Holmgren, 55, is in his sixth year as the general manager of the Flyers and his 32nd overall year with the organization. He was named interim general manager of the Flyers on October 22, 2006 following the resignation of Bob Clarke, and had the interim tag lifted on November 11, 2006 when he was named to the position on a permanent basis.

In his five-plus years as general manager, Holmgren has transformed the Flyers from a team that was in last place at the time of his hiring to one that came within two games of the Stanley Cup last season. His teams have made three consecutive playoff appearances, reaching the Eastern Conference Final in 2007-08 and the Stanley Cup Final in 2009-10.

Holmgren has played an instrumental role in the construction of the entire current Flyers roster and hockey staff. He was responsible for the acquisitions of most of the team's current defensemen, including trades that landed Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros and Matt Walker and the signing of Sean O'Donnell via free agency. Up front, Holmgren engineered trades that brought the Flyers the likes of Daniel Carcillo, Scott Hartnell, and Ville Leino. Through free agency, Holmgren has added Blair Betts, Darroll Powe, Jody Shelley, Danny Briere, Ian Laperriere and Nikolay Zherdev to the fold, along with goaltenders Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky.

Holmgren has also been deeply involved in the drafts that brought the Flyers the remainder of their current roster, both in his role as GM and in his previous role as assistant general manager. He was a part of the team's scouting and eventual drafting of Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Oskars Bartulis, Andreas Nodl, James van Riemsdyk, and Claude Giroux.

On the coaching side, Holmgren hired Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette on December 4, 2009, who then led the Flyers to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. Over the past several years, he has also brought the club's entire assistant coaching staff into the organization, and has made key additions to the team's hockey operations staff.

Holmgren was drafted by the Flyers in 1975 and played parts of nine seasons for the club. The Flyers hired him as an assistant coach after he retired following the 1984-85 season, and he immediately helped the Flyers to one of their best-ever regular season records in 1985-86 (53-23-4) and an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final the following year in 1986-87. Holmgren went on to serve four seasons as the head coach of the Flyers (1988-92), compiling a record of 107-126-31.

After parts of four seasons as the head coach and GM of the Hartford Whalers, Holmgren returned to the Flyers as a scout in November of 1995. Over the next four years, Holmgren served as the club's director of pro scouting and later as the director of player personnel. He was named assistant general manager on June 14, 1999 and held that position for seven seasons.

The Flyers return to the ice tonight when they host the Washington Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center at 7:00 p.m.