The Bruins' six-week search for a general manager ended today with the announcement that Don Sweeney, the team's assistant GM for the last six years, has been promoted to the post.

He replaces his former boss, Peter Chiarelli, who was fired at the end of a season in which the Bruins failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

“I am both excited and humbled for the opportunity to be named the general manager of the Boston Bruins,” Sweeney said in a statement released by the Bruins. “I would like to thank (owner Jeremy Jacobs, CEO Charlie Jacobs and team president Cam Neely) for bestowing the confidence and trust in me to direct this historic franchise in which I have been a part of for 24 years. My family and friends have been extremely supportive throughout the general manager search process and I certainly want to acknowledge them today to show my heartfelt appreciation.

"I am fully aware of everyone’s expectations to move the organization forward. The challenges ahead rests with the players, the coaches and the management group to work hard to make the necessary changes to bring the Bruins back to the forefront of contending for the Stanley Cup.”

Sweeney, 48, played 15 seasons for the Bruins after a four-year career at Harvard, and is one of just two defensemen -- and four players overall -- to play in more than 1,000 games for the Bruins. He finished his playing career with Dallas in 2003-04, then joined the Boston front office in 2006 as director of player development. He was named  director of hockey operations in July 2007 and assistant GM in September 2009.

"Don Sweeney stood out amongst an incredibly talented group of candidates that we considered for this hire," said Charlie Jacobs. "He carries a unique and impressive mix of playing experience, front office experience and business acumen. Don has complete understanding of what it means to be a Bruin and we have full confidence in him to steward the organization back to being Stanley Cup contenders year in and year out."

”Don has excelled in every role he has been in with the Bruins organization and has a comprehensive understanding of every aspect of our hockey operations department," said Neely. "His commitment and drive to bring a championship caliber team to the Boston fans was evident every step of the way through this search process, and I am confident that his leadership of our hockey operations department will lead to success."

The team will introduce Sweeney at a press conference today at 1:30 p.m.