George Parros to head NHL’s Department of Player Safety

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Changes are coming in NHL Player Safety, with sources indicating George Parros will emerge as a major voice in the decision-making process.

Current senior vice-president Stephane Quintal is expected to stay in the department for the time being to help with the transition. But it would not be a surprise if he looks for something else, either within the NHL or an individual club.

“Three years was enough for him,” one source said. “That job eats away at you.”

A very popular teammate during his 474-game NHL career, Parros won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007. He’s known for his fists, accumulating 1,092 career penalty minutes and more than 150 fighting majors.

His ascension comes at an interesting time, as fighting declines in the NHL and throughout the sport. But there is a lot of depth to Parros, who played his NCAA hockey at Princeton. His supporters (and there are many) warn not to stereotype him before he begins the job.

Since there has not yet been an official announcement, Parros declined to comment — or even confirm the change is coming.

As one pointed out, another Princeton alumnus who made the big leagues the hard way, Kevin Westgarth, is on an upward trajectory in the league office. Westgarth, the NHL’s Vice-President of Business Development and International Affairs, started at the Ivy League school the year after Parros finished.

This may not be the only change in the Player Safety Department. There is an empty spot from Chris Pronger’s move to the Florida Panthers’ organization. It is believed the newly retired Shane Doan is among the candidates for that spot, if he desires.