Van Allen's ready to suit up

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

Shaun Van Allen is heading back to the minors.

This time, in a suit.

The former Senators centre rejoined the organization yesterday -- becoming the first alumni member to return to the team on the hockey operations side -- in a newly created position as director of player evaluation.

Van Allen, who retired in 2005 after a career that saw him play 377 games in the minors and 794 in the NHL, will be responsible for evaluating all players within the organization. While mostly on the road, he'll also share his experiences as a pro with the team's prospects.

"When you're done playing you look to go in a new direction, and I had always been in a team atmosphere," said Van Allen, who spent six seasons with the Senators then worked on the Team 1200 as a broadcaster in 2005-06. "I love the community and wanted to stay, plus I really enjoy dealing with young people."

Van Allen turned down an offer to be an assistant coach with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the QMJHL, an opportunity which would have brought his family back to wife Colleen's home town.

"This is where we want to make home base," said Van Allen, who also has a house in Cape Breton and won the AHL scoring championship with the Cape Breton Oilers in 1991-92.

"Especially with a son (Aaron) who's autistic. This is the best chance for him."

The Senators also announced that Anders Hedberg is now the team's North American/European hockey co-ordinator.

Hedberg, who has been with the organization for five years, was previously the director of player personnel.


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