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Darcy Regier and Don Maloney go back a long way. So when Maloney had an opening for an assistant general manager in Arizona, he knew exactly who he wanted to hire.

“There was one guy on the list,” the Coyotes’ GM said Thursday. “At the top of the list was Darcy Regier.”

Regier needed time to think about it, but the oft-rumored reunion with his old pal is official. The Coyotes have hired Regier as senior vice president and assistant GM. Regier worked with Maloney with the New York Islanders in the 1990s.

“It was really important if I was going to get back into hockey, the people were the most important thing for me,” Regier told the Arizona Republic. “He’s just a very high quality person, so it’s great.”

Maloney told The News last week Regier was a candidate for a job in the organization. The Coyotes’ previous assistant GM, Brad Treliving, became Calgary’s general manager in April.

“I had really dozens and dozens of candidates for this position,” Maloney said on Coyotes.com. “Bringing Darcy into this organization is a really good thing for us.”

Regier was the longest-tenured general manager in Sabres history, holding the title from June 1997 to November 2013. He was fired along with coach Ron Rolston after a 4-15-1 start that featured fans chanting for Regier to be dismissed.

The 58-year-old is happy to be back in hockey as an assistant.

“When you’re general manger you’re living it, so you don’t really step back and say, ‘Is this a difficult job or is it not?’ ” Regier told the newspaper. “I’ve been off now for eight months, and when you’re on the outside looking into the position of general manger, you realize it’s a very, very difficult job. I gained more appreciation. I think this is a more ideal entry for me back into the game.

“He asked me if I had an interest quite a while ago after I was fired in Buffalo, and I said something probably along the lines, ‘I think I might. Can you call me back a little later?’ Which he did. It obviously worked out. I think for me, I wanted to make sure I was in a position I could help him and the organization.”

The Sabres went to four Eastern Conference finals and one Stanley Cup final with Regier as GM. However, they missed the playoffs in eight of the last 12 seasons, including three in a row.

“If you think about Buffalo, obviously the last couple years haven’t gone the way they would have liked,” Maloney said. “He had great moments there and like all of us had some down moments.

“I think he’s a great resource for the organization, for me. He’s intelligent, creative, experienced, knows the league, knows people in the league, knows players. I can’t imagine a better hiring for this organization than Darcy.

“He’ll be with the team when I’m not. What Darcy does, he’ll give me a chance to get away from the team more and get on the road and do a little more scouting. There’s nothing he hasn’t seen in this league.”

email jvogl@buffnews.com