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Sabres hire Phil Housley as new head coach

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Mike Desmond/WBFO News
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Hall of Fame defenseman Phil Housley is returning to Buffalo after being hired by the Sabres to be their next head coach.

Housley was hired on Thursday and takes over for Dan Bylsma, who was fired along with general manager Tim Murray in April.

"I'd like to thank Terry and Kim Pegula and  Jason (Botterill, the team's general manager) for this great opportunity. And having the confidence in me to be the new coach of the Buffalo Sabres," Housley said during his introduction.
 

It's a homecoming for Housley, who was selected by Buffalo in the first round of the 1982 draft and spent his first eight seasons playing for the Sabres.

Housley has spent the past four years as an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators. He is credited for overseeing a highly skilled and speedy group of defensemen who helped Nashville make its first Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history.

"I think it's a culture thing, too. I think you've got to build the foundation, set the standards," Housley said. 

"I think those type of things that when you start building something they can build off that and it's a good experience"
 

His hiring comes four days after the Pittsburgh Penguins defended their championship by beating Nashville in Game 6. It also came on his wedding anniversary. Because of the busy process, Housley admitted, he forgot to purchase a card for his wife. It's an oversight that apparently will be forgiven.

The job, he said,  "was a great present."
 

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.
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