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Islanders hire Smith as GM, Nolan as coach

After being out of the hockey limelight for some time, Neil Smith and Ted Nolan returned to the NHL.

The New York Islanders announced the hiring of former Rangers general manager Neil Smith as their new general manager and former Sabres coach Ted Nolan as their new head coach at a news conference Thursday.

"I want to thank [owner] Charles Wang for giving me this chance," Nolan said. "This is an opportunity that I was unsure I would ever receive again. For that reason, I am more charged up about this challenge than any in my life.

"My family and I are very proud to be joining the great Islanders tradition. I will not let Charles, the Islanders family or our fans down."

This will be Nolan's first coaching job since the 1996-97 season with the Buffalo Sabres. He was fired after winning the Jack Adams Award that season.

This past hockey year, Nolan was the coach and director of hockey operations for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Moncton Wildcats.

"Knowing that I'll be working in the same office where one of my mentors, Bill Torrey, created a dynasty is an unbelievable feeling," Smith said. "Al Arbour, whom I owe everything to, gave me my first hockey job as an advance scout. I wear my Islanders Stanley Cup ring with immense pride. To be able to come full circle and return home to the Islanders is a dream."

The Islanders' regime change started in January, when longtime
GM Mike Milbury announced he would step down from the position
after helping find a replacement.

The same day, coach Steve Stirling was fired and Brad Shaw was
brought in on an interim basis.

Last week, the Islanders hired Bryan Trottier as executive
director of player development.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.