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Two former Skating Saints teammates are working together again, this time in the National Hockey League.

The Florida Panthers organization announced on May 26 that St. Lawrence University graduates Mike Keenan '72 and Jacques Martin '75 had been selected as general manager and head coach, respectively. The press release announcing the appointments follows:

May 26, 2004
JACQUES MARTIN & MIKE KEENAN REUNITE
Panthers Announce Martin as Head Coach, Keenan as General Manager

SUNRISE, FL - At an afternoon press conference in the Office Depot Center on Wednesday, the Florida Panthers announced Jacques Martin as the club's head coach and Mike Keenan as the team's general manager.

Martin, 51, guided Ottawa to a 43-23-10-6 mark last season with 102 points. For his career with the Senators, he posted a 341-255-96 regular-season record in nine seasons. He stands as the franchise's all-time leader in games coached (692), regular-season wins (341), playoff wins (31) and playoff games coached (69). He becomes the ninth coach in Panthers history.

Under Martin's guidance, the Senators earned their first President's Trophy and Eastern Conference title, posting a 52-21-8-1 mark upon completion of the 2002-03 campaign. He led Ottawa to its first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils. Martin has been nominated for the Jack Adams Trophy as NHL Coach of the Year four times. He won the award in 1998-99 and was nominated in 1996-97, 2000-01 and 2002-03. He also was selected as head coach of the Eastern Conference at the 2003 NHL All-Star Game in Florida and head coach of the World Team at the 2001 All-Star Game in Denver. Martin was named as an associate coach for Team Canada's men's hockey team that won gold at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. In addition, he will serve as an associate coach with Team Canada at this year's World Cup of Hockey.

Martin joined Ottawa after spending the first half of the 1995-96 season with the Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche, where he served as an assistant coach to Marc Crawford and was widely recognized as one of the architects of that championship team. Martin entered the NHL as head coach of the St. Louis Blues in 1986-87 and 1987-88, leading the Blues to the Norris Division championship in his rookie season. He joined the Blues after guiding the Ontario Hockey League's Guelph Platers to the 1986 Memorial Cup championship and winning OHL coach of the year honors for his efforts. Before joining Guelph, Martin spent two years with the Peterborough Petes (OHL) and 10 years honing his coaching skills at Ottawa's Algonquin College and in the Central Junior Hockey League.

Also recognized for his efforts in the community, Martin established and continues to fund the Jacques Martin Hockey School, which has earned the reputation of being one of the finest bilingual hockey schools in Ontario and Quebec. He also hosts the Jacques Martin Omnium Golf Tournament that has raised more than $300,000 in the past seven years to benefit the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario.

Keenan, 54, becomes the sixth general manager in the team's history. He served as interim general manager with Vancouver (1997-98) and as general manager in St. Louis (1994-96) and Chicago (1988-92). During his tenure with these clubs, he traded for players such as Wayne Gretzky (St. Louis), Craig Conroy (St. Louis), Chris Pronger (St. Louis), Todd Bertuzzi (Vancouver), Chris Chelios (Chicago), Michel Goulet (Chicago) and Brent Sutter (Chicago). While at the helm in Chicago, Keenan posted a mark of 153-126-41 (.542) and led the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1992. His Chicago teams made the playoffs all four years, finishing 33-27 (.550) in the postseason and winning seven of 11 playoff series.

A coaching veteran of 18 seasons, he has spent time behind the bench for seven different NHL clubs including Florida (2000-03), Boston (2000-01), Vancouver (1997-98), St. Louis (1994-96), NY Rangers (1993-94), Chicago (1988-92) and Philadelphia (1984-88). His resume includes three President's Trophies (1985, 1991 and 1994), six division titles (1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991 and 1994), three All-Star Games (1986, 1988 and 1993), three 50-plus win seasons (1984-85, 1985-86 and 1993-94), and five 100-plus point seasons (1984-85, 1985-86, 1986-87, 1990-91 and 1993-94). Keenan ranks fifth on the all-time coaching list in both games coached (1,222) and victories (584).

Most significantly, Keenan led the Rangers to the 1994 Stanley Cup Championship, the team's only championship in the past 64 years. The Rangers went 52-24-8 (.667) under Keenan, going from a non-playoff team to the President's Trophy winner and Stanley Cup Champion in a single year.

Additionally, Keenan was the general manager/head coach of the championship Team Canada squads that participated in the Canada Cup in 1991 and 1987. He served similar roles at the University of Toronto (1983-84), the Peterborough Petes (1979-80) and the Canadian National Junior Team (1979-80).

Keenan and Martin last worked together in Chicago (1988-90), when Keenan served as the team's head coach/general manager and Martin was an assistant coach. Prior to that, the pair worked together when they led Peterborough to the Memorial Cup Finals in 1980. The duo also played hockey together at St. Lawrence University.

Posted: May 26, 2004