Rick Dudley

Richard Clarence Dudley (born January 31, 1949) is a Canadian professional ice hockey executive, former coach and former player. Dudley was most recently the Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations for the Carolina Hurricanes. Dudley was previously the assistant general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. Dudley played in the World Hockey Association and in the National Hockey League. Dudley has also served as a head coach in the National Hockey League. Dudley grew up playing hockey in his hometown of Port Credit, Ontario.

Rick Dudley
Born (1949-01-31) January 31, 1949 (age 72)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Left Wing
Shot Left
Played for Buffalo Sabres
Cincinnati Stingers
Winnipeg Jets
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 1972–1981

Playing careerEdit

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Dudley began his playing career with the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL in 1972–73 and played there for three seasons, before switching leagues in 1975–76. He played four seasons in the WHA for the Cincinnati Stingers. On February 4, 1979, Cincinnati traded him to the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, where he remained until the 1980–81 season. During that season, Dudley was released and picked up by the last place Winnipeg Jets on waivers, where he played the remaining 30 games of the season, wearing the number 99. He spent the next season, 1981–82, playing seven games for the Fredericton Express in the American Hockey League.

Dudley was famous for wearing a headband/sweatband when he played.[1]

Dudley is a member of the Cincinnati Hockey Hall of Fame. He also played for the 1974 Rochester Golden Griffins of the National Lacrosse League in the off season, and it was as a professional playing two sports that he was once featured on the television game show, To Tell the Truth. Despite missing a dozen games at the start of the season because the NHL playoffs and at the end of the season because of Buffalo Sabres training camp, he still managed to finish sixth in league scoring.

Coaching careerEdit

After retiring as a player, Dudley received a call from Dave Gusky who he knew from his playing days in Cincinnati. Gusky was the owner of a new team in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds, that played in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League. The team was struggling in their first season with a 3-20 record at the time and Gusky was losing money and needed help. Dudley originally planned on staying with the team for a few weeks to evaluate the team but realized if he left the team would fold and he decided not to leave. Dudley proposed that he would stay with the team and try to sell the franchise for Gusky and if that didn’t work he would buy the team himself. At the end of the 1981-82 season, Dudley purchased the team from Gusky for roughly $100,000 and took over the team becoming the owner, GM and coach of the Thunderbirds. Dudley re-branded the team from the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds to the Carolina Thunderbirds and the team began to improve. The Thunderbirds went 196-58-12 in the regular season, winning four consecutive ACHL regular season championships, and led the league in attendance during his time over the team. He coached the team to three ACHL championships and another final appearance in four years. [2] After his time with the Thunderbirds Dudley moved up to become the head coach of the Flint Spirits in the International Hockey League.

He also coached in the IHL and AHL, before finally getting a head-coaching job in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres in the 1989–90 season. While coaching in the IHL, in 1988, he won the Commissioner's Trophy for the Coach of the Year. He coached the Sabres for three seasons before being fired in 1991–92. He then spent the next four seasons coaching three teams in the IHL, and didn't make an NHL coaching appearance again until he was the mid-season replacement for the Florida Panthers in the 2003–04 season.

Executive careerEdit

In the summer of 1998, he was hired as general manager of the Ottawa Senators for the 1998–99 season, after which he was hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning (who traded Rob Zamuner as part of a package for the rights to negotiate with Dudley.) He was released by the Lightning in February 2002 and took over as GM of the Florida Panthers in May of the same year. Two years later, he was let go once more and joined the Blackhawks organization as a hockey consultant before rising to the level of assistant general manager in 2006.[3][4]

On June 18, 2009, Dudley resigned from the Blackhawks in order to join the Atlanta Thrashers as Assistant GM.[5] On April 14, 2010, Dudley was named General Manager,[6] replacing Don Waddell, who became club President. Shortly after settling into his new position, when free agency began on July 1, 2010, Dudley aggressively pursued and obtained four players, including Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, and an assistant coach, John Torchetti, from the 2010 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Dudley was dismissed from the team when it moved to Winnipeg in 2011.

Dudley was added to the Toronto Maple Leafs management team as Director of Player Personnel on June 24, 2011. A year later, on May 25, 2012, he was appointed to serve as assistant general manager for the Montreal Canadiens. In the official team press release announcing the move, Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin said, "Rick Dudley is a very knowledgeable and proficient hockey executive and we are pleased to welcome him in our organization in the position of assistant general manager." [7]

Career statisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1968–69 Dixie Beehives OHA-B
1968–69 St. Catharines Black Hawks OHA 26 8 7 15 43 16 2 1 3 46
1969–70 Iowa Stars CHL 26 3 3 6 36 11 0 3 3 4
1970–71 Cleveland Barons AHL 16 1 0 1 2
1970–71 Flint Generals IHL 15 1 5 6 30
1971–72 Cincinnati Swords AHL 51 6 23 29 272 9 0 4 4 58
1972–73 Cincinnati Swords AHL 64 40 44 84 159 15 7 15 22 56
1972–73 Buffalo Sabres NHL 6 0 1 1 7
1973–74 Buffalo Sabres NHL 67 13 13 26 71
1974–75 Buffalo Sabres NHL 78 31 39 70 116 10 3 1 4 26
1975–76 Cincinnati Stingers WHA 74 43 38 81 156
1976–77 Cincinnati Stingers WHA 77 41 47 88 102 4 0 1 1 7
1977–78 Cincinnati Stingers WHA 72 30 41 71 156
1978–79 Cincinnati Stingers WHA 47 17 20 37 102
1978–79 Buffalo Sabres NHL 24 5 6 11 2 3 1 1 2 2
1979–80 Buffalo Sabres NHL 66 11 22 33 58
1980–81 Buffalo Sabres NHL 38 10 13 23 10
1980–81 Winnipeg Jets NHL 30 5 5 10 28
1981–82 Fredericton Express AHL 7 1 3 4 30
WHA totals 270 131 146 277 516 4 0 1 1 7
NHL totals 309 75 99 174 292 25 7 2 9 69

Coaching recordEdit

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish W L Win % Result
BUF 1989–90 80 45 27 8 98 2nd in Adams 2 4 .333 Lost in first round
BUF 1990–91 80 31 30 19 81 3rd in Adams 2 4 .333 Lost in first round
BUF 1991–92 28 9 15 4 22 3rd in Adams (fired)
FLA 2003–04 40 13 15 9 3 38 4th in Southeast (returned to assistant coaching role)
Total 228 98 87 40 3


  1. ^ http://thirdstringgoalie.blogspot.com/2012/01/1977-78-cincinnati-stingers-rick-dudley.html
  2. ^ "Rick Dudley comes full circle in return to North Carolina". The Athletic. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  3. ^ Willis, Jonathan. "Leafs' Executive Rick Dudley Has Run Four NHL Teams – Should He Get A Fifth?". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  4. ^ "Rick Dudley named assistant general manager". NHL.com. Montreal Canadiens. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  5. ^ "Blackhawks assistant general manager Rick Dudley resigns after 3 seasons; joins Thrashers". The Hockey News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  6. ^ "Thrashers fire coaching staff | Atlanta Thrashers". Blogs.ajc.com. April 14, 2010. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  7. ^ "Habs officially name Dudley assistant GM". sportsnet.ca. September 27, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2012.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Ted Sator
Head coach of the Buffalo Sabres
Succeeded by
John Muckler
Preceded by
Pierre Gauthier
General Manager of the Ottawa Senators
Succeeded by
Marshall Johnston
Preceded by
Jacques Demers
General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning
Succeeded by
Jay Feaster
Preceded by
Chuck Fletcher
General Manager of the Florida Panthers
Succeeded by
Mike Keenan
Preceded by
Mike Keenan
Head coach of the Florida Panthers
Succeeded by
John Torchetti
Preceded by
Don Waddell
General Manager of the Atlanta Thrashers
Succeeded by
Kevin Cheveldayoff
(Winnipeg Jets)