(credit: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After some speculation Thursday that the Dallas Stars were close to naming Lindy Ruff as the new head coach, the team made it official on Friday morning. The announcement came at 8:35 a.m. with a formal press conference introducing him as coach scheduled for noon at the American Airlines Center.

Ruff is the 22nd head coach in franchise history, and the seventh since the team moved to Dallas.

The 53-year-old NHL veteran had been mentioned as a possibility for the coaching position since it opened. He was coach of the Buffalo Sabres for 15 seasons, but was fired earlier this year. Nobody expected him to be without a team for very long. Ruff is the 12th winningest head coach in NHL history, with the third most wins of any current coach.

“One of the trademarks of successful organizations,” said Stars GM Jim Nill, “is their ability to have continuity and stability for an extended period of time. It is clear from Lindy’s record, and from our own conversations, that we have found the right person to provide that stability and lead this club to the next level. His steady hand and experience will prove invaluable in returning our team as a top-tier contender in the NHL.”

Buffalo made eight postseason appearances under Ruff’s command, including four trips to the Eastern Conference Finals and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999 — where, ironically enough, his team actually lost to the Stars. He is tied for the 15th most playoff victories in NHL history, and one of just 21 coaches with 100 postseason matches under his belt.

“I am honored to be joining the Dallas Stars organization,” Ruff said. “It is clear that all the right pieces are coming together to return this club to the upper-echelon of the NHL. I look forward to leading its resurgence.”

In addition to his NHL experience, Ruff also coached Canada’s national team to a silver medal at the 2009 World Championships and worked with as an associate coach when the team won a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics. And before his coaching career, Ruff played 691 games in the NHL from 1979 to 1991.

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