Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney was named Assistant General Manager for the Hockey Canada 2022 Beijing Olympics team.
In a media zoom call Wednesday, Sweeney was honored to be representing his country for the first time in what will be almost 25 years since he laced them up for Canada at the 1997 World Championships Canada brought home Gold.
“Long time since I represented Canada,” Sweeney, the St. Stephen, New Brunswick native said in a Zoom Call Wednesday. “I’m 1-0, and I’m hoping to contribute what I possibly can to get 2-0.”
Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney and Senior Vice President National Teams tabbed Doug Armstrong General manager recently and the St. Louis Blues General Manager knew right away that he wanted the 2019 NHL General Manager of The Year to be his right-hand man.
“As far as management, I’m great friends with Peter Chiarelli, and Peter had the foresight to bring him in and work with him. He speaks so highly of Donny,” Armstrong told the media.
Almost 18 years ago, Armstrong brought Don Sweeney the player and longtime Bruins defenseman into the Dallas Stars organization as a free agent in the 2003-04. Sweeney had played 16 seasons and over 1,000 games with the Bruins to that point and Armstrong wanted to bring in a veteran leader for a team that was in transition at the time.
“Donny came in as advertised,” recalled Armstrong. “He played with his heart. He left everything on the ice and he was a pleasure to be around.”
Since being hired by the Bruins in May 2015, Don Sweeney has constructed and guided the Bruins to the playoffs in four of five seasons, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019. He’s been under scrutiny recently after allowing veteran puck-moving defenseman Torey Krug and longtime captain Zdeno Chara to walk via unrestricted free agency this past offseason. Sweeney decided to go all-in on the blue line prospects he and head coach Bruce Cassidy think are ready for the show.
“You have to make hard decisions,” said Armstrong, who ironically signed Krug. “Quite honestly, you have to make unpopular decisions. Donny’s been able to do that and keep the Bruins at the top.”
For Don Sweeney it will be an honor to work with General Manager Doug Armstrong who’s St. Louis Blues beat Sweeney’s Bruins in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, fellow Assistant General Managers Roberto Luongo and Ron Francis, and Associate General Manager Ken Holland.
“It’s an incredible privilege to work with these guys,” Sweeney said. “Knowing the success each and every one of them has had individually. It’s overwhelming to think of the knowledge. You get in conversations and realize your listening skills, for me, need to be improved and just be a sponge.”