Breaking News: Risebrough Fired
According to two outside NHL sources, Wild GM Doug Risebrough has been fired by owner Craig Leipold. It is unconfirmed inside the organization.
Leipold was said to have agonized over the decision but decided, in the final analysis, that a change in direction was called for.
Here’s the memo from the team:
Minnesota Wild Owner, Craig Leipold, announced today that the organization will not renew the contract of President and General Manager, Doug Risebrough, beyond the 2008-2009 season.
“The entire Minnesota Wild organization is forever indebted to Doug for his substantial efforts in establishing this franchise’s solid foundation and winning tradition,” said Leipold. “The positive impact of Doug’s service will be felt for many years to come. We wish Doug the very best.”
The search for a new General Manager will begin immediately. The first order of business for the incoming General Manager will be to select the Team’s next Head Coach.
Until a replacement is found, Assistant General Manager Tom Lynn, will be acting-General Manager.
Personally, I’m sad to see Risebrough go. I have had the pleasure of meeting with and talking to him at length, and I’ll tell you that you’re not going to find a better person in the NHL. He’s personable, friendly and very fun to talk to.
On a business level, however, you had to see the writing on the wall with the departure of Jacques Lemaire. It started with Craig Leipold buying the team. At that point, the guard began to change. Lemaire’s departure was another signal that the team was going to begin heading in a different direction, and this latest occurrance cements it. This is a team that is going to look quite different come next season.
The question at hand is now not who will be the head coach for next season, but who will hire the head coach next season.
My guess is that Leipold already has himself a short list and, other than Jay Feaster and JFJ I’m not sure who would be available for the GM position so I won’t speculate as to who he is going to be looking at. One thing is for sure, however. This marks a new era for the Wild; 100%.
Risebrough has come under fire recently for not being able to land the “big fish.” Whether that was a product of perception, with Lemaire as the coach, or a product of Risebrough not being willing to take big risks the fact remains that this was a change that needed to be made and in a sweeping manner. I’ll have more on this as it unfolds, but there’s no doubt that it’s an extremely exciting time to be a Wild fan and this should be a very eventful off season for the team.