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Geoff Molson to replace Montreal Canadiens marketing whiz Lalonde

MONTREAL - Marketing whiz Ray Lalonde was let go Friday by the Montreal Canadiens in the latest move in the makeover of the NHL club's management team.

Geoff Molson, head of the ownership group that bought the Canadiens from George Gillett in 2010, announced Lalonde was leaving his job as vice-president and chief sales and marketing manager immediately. But he will remain as an advisor until Feb. 25.

He said recruitment is underway to replace Lalonde under the new job title of chief operating officer.

Molson announced before the season he would be take over as team president from Pierre Boivin at the end of the current campaign.

''We have decided to re-evaluate the responsibilities within our management team and, as a result, create a position of chief operating officer, for that person to assist me in my new role,'' Molson said in a statement.

''Since joining the Montreal Canadiens back in 2001, Ray has played a key role in the development of the organization and the growth of our fan base and their renewed passion for the team.''

Lalonde was a key organizer of events leading up to the team's 100th anniversary celebration in 2009 and retirement of the jerseys of several Canadiens legends. During is tenure, Montreal has consistently sold out the 21,273-seat Bell Centre for games.

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