Don Waddell

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Don Waddell
Born (1958-08-19) August 19, 1958 (age 58)
Detroit, Michigan
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
Position Defense
Shot Left
Played for New Haven Nighthawks (AHL)
Flint Spirits (IHL)
Toledo Goaldiggers (IHL)
Flint Generals (IHL)
Augsburger EV (Germany)
Saginaw Gears (IHL)
Los Angeles Kings (NHL)
Houston Apollos CHL
Tulsa Oilers (CHL)
National team  United States
NHL Draft 111th overall, 1978
Los Angeles Kings
Playing career 1980–1988

Donald Douglas Waddell (born August 19, 1958 in Detroit, Michigan) is the former, and last President of the Atlanta Thrashers and a former professional ice hockey defenseman. He is currently President of Gale Force Sports & Entertainment, parent company of the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Waddell was selected 111th overall, in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft. He was selected as the 3rd choice of the Los Angeles Kings on June 15, 1978. He played in the NHL for only one game with the Kings during the 1980–81 season, against the New York Rangers on January 28, 1981.

His playing career consisted mostly of minor and college hockey. He played 4 seasons at Northern Michigan University. He was one of the final cuts for the 1980 U.S. men's hockey team after he broke his leg in a pre-tournament game. He won the International Hockey League's Governor's Trophy in 1982 for best defenseman during the regular season.

Coaching career[edit]

After his tenure as a player, he moved to coaching for the 1987–88 season with the IHL Flint Spirits as a player-coach. For the next two seasons, he moved behind the bench permanently. Waddell moved on to the IHL San Diego Gulls for the 1991–92 season. Waddell took over as interim coach of the Atlanta Thrashers during the 2002–03 season with a record of 4–5–1–0 as coach before Bob Hartley was named to the permanent job.

After a disappointing start (0–6–0) to the 2007–08 Atlanta Thrashers season, Waddell was named interim head coach of the team following the dismissal of Bob Hartley.[2] For several months, he was able to lead the team on a turn around, but the Thrashers ultimately played poorly down the stretch and missed the playoffs.

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
G W L T OTL Pts Division Rank Result
ATL 2002–03 10 4 5 1 0 (74) 3rd in Southeast Missed Playoffs
ATL 2007–08 76 34 34 - 8 (76) 4th in Southeast Missed Playoffs
Total 86 38 39 1 8

Management career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Waddell's first front-office experience came with the International Hockey League's Flint Spirits during the 1988-89 season when he served in the duel role of head coach and general manager. He moved into Flint's front office exclusively for the 1989-90 season before joining the IHL's San Diego Gulls. He was vice president and general manager for the Gulls from 1990-95 before accepting the same role with the IHL's Orlando Solar Bears. While in Orlando, Waddell was also vice president of RDV Sports and served on the organization's executive committee which oversaw the NBA's Orlando Magic, the Solar Bears and RDV Sports' retail and aviation interests.

Detroit Red Wings[edit]

After leaving Orlando, Waddell served as assistant general manager of the Detroit Red Wings in the 1997-98 season, capturing the Stanley Cup.

Atlanta Thrashers[edit]

On June 23, 1998, just one week after the Red Wings swept the Washington Capitals in the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals, Waddell was named the first general manager of the Atlanta Thrashers. He served as general manager of the Thrashers until the conclusion of the 2009-10 season when he was promoted to team president, and Rick Dudley succeeded him as general manager.[3] During his tenure as general manager of the Thrashers, the team recorded a 308-401-45-66 record and made their lone playoff appearance after winning the NHL's Southeast Division in 2006-07. Waddell also served as executive vice president and co-chair of the executive committee for the Thrashers' parent company, Atlanta Spirit.

Following True North's purchase of the Thrashers, Waddell announced he would not be moving with the team from Atlanta to Winnipeg.

Pittsburgh Penguins[edit]

On January 21, 2012, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced their hiring of Waddell as a professional scout.[4]

Carolina Hurricanes[edit]

Waddell was named President of Gale Force Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes, on July 1, 2014.

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
All-CCHA First Team 1977–78 [5]
All-CCHA First Team 1979–80 [5]
IHL Governor's Trophy 1981-82

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Mike Liut
CCHA Player of the Year
Shared With
John Markell
Succeeded by
Ken Morrow
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Position created
General Manager of the Atlanta Thrashers
Succeeded by
Rick Dudley
Preceded by
Curt Fraser
Bob Hartley
Interim Head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers
Succeeded by
Bob Hartley
John Anderson