QUEBEC -- The Quebec Nordiques, coming off their second straight season with the worst record in the NHL, Friday named Minnesota North Stars Coach Pierre Page as the club's general manager.
Page replaces Martin Madden, who was fired late in the season as part of a massive housecleaning.
'I was looking for someone able to work well within an organization and someone who is devoted to his job. Pierre Page is a very respected hockey person throughout the NHL and possesses all the qualities needed to become a first-class general manager,' Nordiques co-owner Marcel Aubut said at a news conference.
Page, 40, met with Nordiques officals last week in Bern, Switzerland, where he was attending the World Hockey Championships, and was offered the job at that time. Page said he decided late Wednesday to take the job and told Minnesota General Manager Jack Ferreira of his decision on Thursday.
Page, who was given total control of the club's hockey operations, is believed to be one of the top judges of talent in the NHL.
At Minnesota, Page took over a poor club that had missed the NHL playoffs and turned it into a respectable He was 63-77-20 with Minnesota.
Among his coaching successes are 1988 No. 1 draft pick Mike Modano, who scored 29 goals and finished with 75 points for Minnesota last season and is a finalist for the Calder Trophy, given to the league's best rookie.
He now joins a club that repeatedly has owned one of the top picks in the NHL draft. In the last three seasons, the Nordiques have finished 19th, 21st and 21st among the NHL's 21 teams in the overall standings.
'We want a quick, hard-working team with talent and character,' Page said. 'We will start building and picking these kind of players in the upcoming draft.'
Page will be responsible for making the decision between center Mike Ricci, the NHL Central Scouting Bureau's top-rated draft prospect, and Owen Nolan, a rugged scorer who Quebec is said to be coveting at right wing.
The Nordiques' housecleaning featured a firesale at the trading deadline. They sent perennial 50-goal scorer Michel Goulet to Chicago for prospects and and draft choices, and captain Peter Stastny to New Jersey for defenseman Craig Wolanin, a former first-round pick who has yet to hit potential. At that time, they vowed to give their stockpile of prospects a chance in the coming seasons in order to groom a powerhouse.
The brigade will be led by Joe Sakic, a former first-round pick who was Quebec's lone All-Star and the first player in NHL history to surpass 100 points for a last-place team.
However, Page would not discuss the status of Nordiques Coach Michel Bergeron, coming off his first year with Quebec.
'Michel Bergeron is a true Nordique and I don't believe this is the proper place to discuss the future of Michel,' Page said.
Bergeron, who was present at the news conference, said he was 'very happy for Pierre.'
'It's every coach's dream to become a general manager,' Bergeron said. 'It's part of life to move up in life. I haven't had any discussions with Pierre yet, but I imagine we will be talking in the near future.'
Bergeron reiterated that he still is under contract to coach the Nordiques, but 'I'm not the one who will decide what the future has in store for me.'