“Justin has been a major part of the culture change that we’ve undergone here. We’re thrilled to add someone with his experience to our front office,” said Waddell. Williams retired from the NHL after the 2019-20 season after spending his last three seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Williams played for the Capitals during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons after signing with them as a free agent in July of 2015. He then signed with the Hurricanes in free agency, returning to a team for whom he had played for from 2003-04 until partway through the 2008-09 season, when he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.
The Hurricanes felt it was an opportunity to add a respected voice to a collaborative front office and tap into Williams’ vast knowledge of the game and contacts around the league.
“When we have scouting meetings, meetings about our current team, anything we might need, he’ll be accessible for us. The knowledge that he brings just getting off the ice a short time ago is going to be very valuable to us,” said Waddell.
Williams figures it’s a chance to learn the business side of the sport he’s played for many years. “You finish playing, and then you kind of figure out what you want to do when you grow up. There’s a lot of work that these guys put in, and I’m just slowly going to try to learn it as best I can.”
Williams added, “You’re watching with a different eye. That’s very unique. Am I going to be good at rating players or grading players? I don’t know. I’m just learning what I need to see in a player. I’m excited just to see the behind-the-scenes and what goes into all the decisions that are made. Building a hockey team is something that I feel like I have pretty good interest in, so I’ll be keeping my ears and eyes open at how these decisions come about. I’ll be learning as much as I can.”
Williams expressed his goals for the new assignment.
“The end game is doing my part to try to bring a championship back here. I was able to help out back in 2006, but I know this team is very capable and very close to getting back to doing that.”
Williams long and storied NHL career included 1,264 regular-season games and 162 playoff games. During the regular season, he had scored 320 goals and recorded 477 assists for 797 points. He was a member of three Stanley Cup teams, in 2006 (Hurricanes) 2012 (Los Angeles Kings), and 2014 (Kings).
By Diane Doyle