Darryl Sutter quits as GM of Calgary Flames

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CALGARY, ALBERTA (AP) - With his team’s record among the worst in the Western Conference, Darryl Sutter resigned as general manager of the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.

Assistant GM Jay Feaster was promoted to acting general manager and will be responsible for day-to-day hockey operations.

The decision could resonate within the organization. Darryl hired brother Brent in 2009 to coach the team. Another brother, Duane, is the team’s director of player personnel.

Flames President Ken King lauded Darryl Sutter’s eight years in the organization. Sutter was also the club’s executive vice president.

“He was the leader that ignited a renaissance of Flames hockey, moving us from a nonplayoff team to an organization that was viewed as a respected and popular contender each year,” King said in a statement.

King said Feaster will handle the general manager duties until season’s end, and Sutter will “assist in an orderly transition.”

“We believe that while we continue to compete for a playoff position this season, this period will provide both the organization and Jay time to decide on critical future decisions,” King said.

Feaster joined the Flames last July. He captured a Stanley Cup as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s GM in 2004 and Calder Cup championship as president of the AHL’s Hershey Bears in 1997.

Entering Tuesday night’s games, the Flames (16-18-3) were fourth in the Northwest Division, five points ahead of last-place Edmonton.

Sutter, a 52-year-old Albertan, joined the organization in 2002 when he was hired as coach. He became general manager the following year. He gave up the coaching job in 2006 but remained GM.

The Flames are one of the oldest teams in the NHL with an average age of nearly 30. They’re also an expensive team, one at the salary cap limit.

The Sutter name is revered in the hockey community. Six Sutter brothers played in the NHL and four of them _ Darryl, Brian, Duane, Brent _ have all coached in the league as well.

When Darryl Sutter arrived in Calgary, the franchise was emerging from a dark time. A seven-year absence from the playoffs sent season-ticket sales into a tailspin in 1999 and 2000. A “Save the Flames” campaign by the team allowed the club to survive.

In Sutter’s first year in the dual role of coach and GM in 2003-04, the Flames reached the Stanley Cup final and lost to Tampa Bay in seven games. During that run, then-Prime Minister Paul Martin called them “Canada’s team.”

The fan base was energized but expectations grew. After the lockout of 2004-05, Sutter coached the team to a division title but it lost in the first playoff round to Anaheim. Sutter then gave up coaching. Three coaches followed over the next four years _ Jim Playfair, Mike Keenan and Brent Sutter.

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