The Bruins made longtime defenseman Don Sweeney the general manager on Wednesday, replacing fired GM Peter Chiarelli with his former assistant and Harvard teammate.

Sweeney has spent the past six seasons as the assistant GM to Chiarelli, who was fired last month after the team missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years and four years after a Stanley Cup championship. Sweeney played for the Bruins for the first 15 of his 16 years in the NHL.

"I am both excited and humbled for the opportunity," Sweeney said in thanking ownership and Bruins 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."

An eighth-round draft pick in 1984, Sweeny played four years at Harvard, graduating one year after Chiarelli. He played in Boston from 1988-2004 and still ranks third on the team's games played list.

He also ranks in the top ten of the club's all-time lists for goals, assists and points by a defenseman.

"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," Neely said. "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."

Sweeney joined the front office in 2006 as director of player development and worked his way up to assistant GM three years later. In that role, he oversaw the development of the team's drafted prospects and ran the team's hockey department.

Last year, he was appointed GM of Boston's AHL affiliate in Providence.

"He carries a unique and impressive mix of playing experience, front office experience and business acumen," said Charlie Jacobs, the team's CEO. "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."