Brian Burke Joins The Calgary Flames

The radical transformation of the Calgary Flames continues, as the club announced at a Thursday morning press conference than Brian Burke has joined the organization as President of Hockey Operations. The club has also appointed team executive John Bean as Chief Operating Officer of the club.

brian burke
Brian Burke (Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE)

The moves come as Flames President Ken King’s plate has gotten a little full. The Flames have gradually transformed from “just” a hockey team into a complex sports organization, not unlike Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, featuring the Flames, WHL Calgary Hitmen, CFL Calgary Stampeders, NLL Calgary Roughnecks and the AHL Abbotsford Heat. The appointments have ended a lengthy search for the Flames, particularly in regards to Hockey Operations. The club was reportedly in talks with NHL executive Brendan Shanahan earlier in the year for a similar position. Flames GM Jay Feaster will report to Burke in the new position, while Burke reports directly to King.

The moves appear to give King a bit of a lighter workload, but they also come as the lease on the Scotiabank Saddledome begins to tick down and the club has been vocal about needing a new home in the city of Calgary. The timing is probably not a coincidence, and any reduced workload for King will likely be “topped-up” by work on a new building for the Flames.

Speculation began running rampant late Wednesday after media personality Bruce Dowbiggin tweeted that Burke was on his way to Calgary – although part of the reason(s) for his trip west are to visit his daughter (who lives in town) and to participate in a charity event in Lloydminster.

Burke has an extensive hockey resume. The native of Providence, Rhode Island has served as Director of Hockey Operations with Vancouver (1987-92), GM in Hartford (92-93), GM in Vancouver (99-04), GM in Anaheim (05-08), GM in Toronto (08-12) and was architect of Team USA’s silver medal in 2010. He has a Stanley Cup from his time with Anaheim.

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