The Toronto Maple Leafs have hired Chicago Steel general manager Ryan Hardy to be the NHL club's senior director of minor league operations, the teams announced Friday.
Hardy will also serve as the general manager of Toronto's AHL and ECHL affiliates, the Toronto Marlies and Newfoundland Growlers. The two-time USHL GM of the Year will have complete control over the hockey operations for each of Toronto's minor league clubs.
Hardy, 35, served as Steel GM since the start of the 2018-19 USHL season. The Steel went 116-39-8-2 and won the Anderson Cup as the USHL's regular season champion in each of the past two seasons. The Steel also won the Clark Cup this past season during Hardy's tenure.
Prior to joining the Steel, Hardy spent two seasons as an amateur scout for the Boston Bruins. He also spent four seasons with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program as director of player personnel, assistant director of player personnel, and regional scouting manager.
Hardy will be reunited with former Steel head coach Greg Moore, who holds the same role with the Marlies. Former Steel forward Nick Abruzzese (2019 fourth round) and current Steel forward Joe Miller (2020 sixth) are also part of Toronto’s organization.
Steel assistant GM Noëlle Needham will be Chicago's interim GM during the search for Hardy's successor. She joined the Steel in October after two seasons as an amateur scout for the Maple Leafs. The Steel's search will include internal and external candidates.
What They Said
“I am certainly excited to begin my new role in Toronto, but this is definitely a very bittersweet day. I have given all of myself to this team over the last three years and I will miss this place tremendously. I want to thank (Steel owner) Larry Robbins and (Steel president) Dan Lehv for the belief they put in me and our ambitious vision three years ago.
"I am so grateful to (head coach) Brock Sheahan and our hockey staff, as well as our support staff, who have and will continue to represent our organization in an exemplary fashion. I'm grateful for our billet families and our fans, without whom none of this is possible. Most importantly, I want to express gratitude to all of the young men who have played for the Steel during my tenure. I am very blessed to have been a part of their lives. It has been a privilege to watch them grow.”
Toronto GM Kyle Dubas
"Over the last several seasons, I have developed a strong relationship with Ryan as his Chicago Steel team had great success on the ice, as well as success in developing players and staff. As we evaluate how to best maximize the potential of all our prospects, we felt that adding Ryan to our management team and tasking him with managing the Marlies and the hockey side of our relationship with the Newfound Growlers would be a great benefit to the organization."