Report: Flames Hire Brad Treliving as GM

Ryan Pike
April 28 2014 08:56AM

According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Calgary Flames have their man.

Treliving is both the son of Dragon's Den star Jim Treliving and an experienced hockey executive. He's served as:

  • GM of the AHL's San Antonio Rampage
  • GM of the AHL's Portland Pirates
  • Assistant GM of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Also...(per his Coyotes website bio):

Treliving, 44, joined the Coyotes after serving as the President of the Central Hockey League (CHL) for seven years. During his tenure, Treliving guided the CHL to remarkable growth and development. Numerous successful expansion franchises were introduced including the Arizona Sundogs in Prescott Valley who began play in a new arena in 2006-07. That season, the CHL led all North American “AA” professional hockey leagues in attendance for the sixth consecutive campaign.

Treliving co-founded the Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL) in 1996 and served as the league’s Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations for five seasons. The native of Penticton, British Columbia played an integral role in the merger of the WPHL and the CHL in May 2001 upon which he began his tenure as President of the league.

    We're awaiting an announcement from the Flames confirming the move. CBC's Elliote Freidman recently reported that Treliving had interviewed with the club.

    If/when it's official, Treliving would become the 7th full-time general manager in club history (after Cliff Fletcher, Doug Risebrough, Al Coates, Craig Button, Darryl Sutter and Jay Feaster).

    By all accounts, a pretty smart, bold move by Brian Burke. Treliving has a strong reputation in hockey circles.

    51a8cdc527ce12d222fdc583f3cf4368
    Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
    Avatar
    #51 Dave
    April 28 2014, 01:33PM
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    @Byron Bader

    here is an article from oilersnation. It is an interview with Dave Tippet. He talks a little about the analytic s they use in Phoenix.

    http://oilersnation.com/2014/4/21/talking-tippett-and-yakupov

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    #52 Byron Bader
    April 28 2014, 01:40PM
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    @Dave

    Very cool, thanks! You're Dave Tippett aren't you?

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    #53 Dave
    April 28 2014, 01:51PM
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    @Byron Bader

    no comment

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    #54 loudogYYC
    April 28 2014, 01:52PM
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    the-wolf wrote:

    Certainly going to have to wait and see how he does here, but it's impossible to determine what accomplishments hockey guys (outside of the GM chair - and even then) are really responsible for because everything happens behind the scenes.

    Look at Button. He's survived something like 5 GMs. How? He must take rel good notes so that eh can demonstrated what he wanted vs. what actually happened. But fans will never know.

    Did drafting improve under Feaster because of Feaster's knowledge or just because he stayed out of the way? Was it Button or Weisbrod who made the bigger difference behind the scenes? We'll never really know.

    BB, on the other hand, would have access to that sort of information through both formal and informal channels. In other words, BB shouldn't have had any problems in learning/verifying/evaluating the moves Trelving was responsible for.

    Good point on the drafting during the Feaster era. One thing I remember about Feaster is that from day 1, he said he would simply delegate and let the specialists do their thing. Definitely seems like the case in the 2010 and 2011 draft

    I've heard many people say that Burke isn't a micro manager, that he let's people do their work and they talk about it later. If you recall the infamous Phaneuf trade, it was said that Nonis did all the groundwork and then Burke just closed the deal. That I hope, is the kind of work dynamic we can expect from Burke-Treliving.

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    #55 loudogYYC
    April 28 2014, 01:53PM
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    prendrefeu wrote:

    So your beef is with Burke, not Treliving?

    In terms of the on-going debate of "Size" vs. "Speed & Skill" vs. "Truculence" or whatever mixer you want to throw into the ring, I personally do not see any clear advantage to be in any one aspect over the other. There is a necessity for balance, and that is something that Burke himself has mentioned however it does get overshadowed by the key words the media tends to pick up, hone on, and repeat back to Burke as questions. Burke wants skill - he has said that. Fans/media tend to ignore that he said that and just focus on that 'toughness' thing a bit. It doesn't help that Burke looks like a retired Sonic the Hedgehog with a hint of a 'beligerent local down at the pub' demeanor, but hey that just lends fuel to the fire for critics who hold on to the few key words he says.

    How would you classify Boston? Speed & Skill? Size? Truculent? They seem to mark many boxes, but they are not on the team of "St. Louis sized players" by any stretch of the imagination. They're big. They're skilled. They're also tough. Looking at their Height and Weight average compared to other teams, they're mostly hovering around the middle. Yep, average. They're also the most cited team to lift the cup in a month and a few weeks time. Coincidence?

    Then we can look at LA - they're really skilled. Top ranks in Height and Weight. But tough? I don't see it, certainly not on the 'eye' test. They were much 'tougher' when they won the cup a few years ago, now they look like their blade's edge is a bit dulled from cutting paper compared to that year when they were cutting flesh. You're looking at a team with skill but not really playing big. Let's see how far that gets them.

    So we have small players, Gaudreau, Byron, etc:. Awesome. They can light the heck out of that lamp just like St. Louis does... and yes, Burke wants that. He even said so! But he also said he wants all players to 'play big' meaning that the small guys too need some grit to them. Meaning that there needs to be some other, larger players around that can play big - not necessarily goon like - but just to open up the lanes, impose on defense, and make the necessary hits.

    One reason I really, really loved this season compared to past years? Calgary finally got back to making life difficult for visitors. Sure the Flames didn't win every home game, but every single team that came through the Saddledome knew it wouldn't be a walk over (exception the Dallas game). Every team knew that the trip to Alberta would be tough. Shots would get blocked, the Flames would play above their paper numbers, and a simple win would have to be earned through an exhaustive effort. I love that. I want that. I want the Flames to have the skill to light up the lamp and at the same time not skate around the rink like a bunch of primadonnas afraid to make a hit, forecheck, or block a shot. I want the Flames to FIRE IT UP just like the motto down at the bottom of this page. So Burke wants some toughness? He's already made that happen in the first year after YEARS of the Flames being sort of 'meh' in effort. Now we're adding skill into the equation without losing the toughness. New guys coming in better be tough, too.

    Amen, brother.

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    #56 Dave
    April 28 2014, 01:58PM
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    @loudogYYC

    toughness can be trained too. If you have a skill guy that is developed in a culture of playing tough, and competing every night he will pick up those attributes. Just because they aren't "tough" when they're drafted doesn't mean they can't be taught that.

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    #57 beloch
    April 28 2014, 02:27PM
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    @prendrefeu

    I don't have a beef with Burke. I take issue with some of the things he's said, but it he definitely likes to say one thing and then do something entirely different. So far his actions have mostly been intelligent. On several occasions he waxed poetical about size and truculence but, when it came time to sign Gaudreau, the plane was there.

    I do have an issue with calling Treliving's job "General Manager" though. Under the Flames new management structure he clearly has less power and responsibility than that, but he will have more of both than the assistant GM of most NHL clubs have. Really, he's neither a GM or assistant-GM now. I just didn't want people to get carried away about the impact Treliving is going to have. This is still very much Burke's team.

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    #58 Stan
    April 28 2014, 02:33PM
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    beloch wrote:

    I don't have a beef with Burke. I take issue with some of the things he's said, but it he definitely likes to say one thing and then do something entirely different. So far his actions have mostly been intelligent. On several occasions he waxed poetical about size and truculence but, when it came time to sign Gaudreau, the plane was there.

    I do have an issue with calling Treliving's job "General Manager" though. Under the Flames new management structure he clearly has less power and responsibility than that, but he will have more of both than the assistant GM of most NHL clubs have. Really, he's neither a GM or assistant-GM now. I just didn't want people to get carried away about the impact Treliving is going to have. This is still very much Burke's team.

    No. Its not. Its Treliving's team with Burke providing guidance and advice. How do people STILL not understand the GM-President of Hockey Ops structure? smh

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    #59 BitGeek
    April 28 2014, 03:03PM
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    I think the most reassuring thing about this hire is that Burke just didn't go with someone he used to work with - like Nonis for instance. Nor did he try to seduce a name that just has brand recognition (like a former player might have). He went in an unexpected direction and grabbed a guy that has plenty of hockey and business experience but isn't a current GM either.

    Will Brad Treliving end up being just a paper GM that Burke can control? Maybe, but it's too early to tell at this point.

    The draft will be an interesting time to see what Brad does with the information he brings with him in addition to the information the Flames scouting staff has already collected. Even if he goes off the board on some of his selections it will be years before we can get a sense of their success or failure.

    Like others have noted, at face value, this seems like a good hire, but performance will be the true indicator.

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    #60 Ed Wailin'
    April 28 2014, 03:14PM
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    The amount of times he adjusts the mic during the presser was pretty ridiculous lol

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    #61 Dave
    April 28 2014, 03:36PM
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    I'm really curious about how he is going to add his stamp to this team. I'm pretty excited to see how this all goes.

    On a side note. At first I wasn't too thrilled about the Burke hiring but his actions have been very different than his words (in a positive way). I'm impressed with his willingness to asses and sign on talent that he wasn't attached to.

    All in all I'm very pleased with how the Flames are doing. Great franchises are built because of good leadership and management.

    Maybe I'm just drinking the kool aid but I can't help but be very optimistic and excited about the Flames.

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    #62 Bean-counting cowboy
    April 28 2014, 03:37PM
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    Great question by Pinder regarding advanced metrics and the response by Treliving in my mind was encouraging. "we will lead the league in gathering information". Sounds like they did use that type of info in Phoenix.

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    #63 Bean-counting cowboy
    April 28 2014, 03:38PM
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    Dave wrote:

    I'm really curious about how he is going to add his stamp to this team. I'm pretty excited to see how this all goes.

    On a side note. At first I wasn't too thrilled about the Burke hiring but his actions have been very different than his words (in a positive way). I'm impressed with his willingness to asses and sign on talent that he wasn't attached to.

    All in all I'm very pleased with how the Flames are doing. Great franchises are built because of good leadership and management.

    Maybe I'm just drinking the kool aid but I can't help but be very optimistic and excited about the Flames.

    I'm with you. I think Burke catches a lot of unnecessary flak and I think he will let the GM do his thing. This team has got to be way better than the schmoz up North!

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    #64 loudogYYC
    April 28 2014, 03:40PM
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    Dave wrote:

    toughness can be trained too. If you have a skill guy that is developed in a culture of playing tough, and competing every night he will pick up those attributes. Just because they aren't "tough" when they're drafted doesn't mean they can't be taught that.

    I don't disagree with that idea. Baertschi being heavily coached by Troy Ward is proof that the Flames also believe it can happen, but it mainly falls on the players shoulders.

    That's why they always talk about "character" players, players who have the resilience to do what's necessary to win instead of doing what they they think they want to win. Time will tell.

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    #65 Dave
    April 28 2014, 03:42PM
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    @Bean-counting cowboy

    Yup. It seems like the Flames management are making thoughtful decisions. There is no Knee Jerk reactions.

    Also I want to note that It appears that Ken King has vanished from discussions. He deserves some credit for taking a back seat and hiring Burke.

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    #66 Dave
    April 28 2014, 03:47PM
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    @loudogYYC

    True. It's shared responsibility. I just think at some point you have to have trust in your development system and recently the Flames have done a good job with the Heat (mostly Troy Ward).

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    #67 McRib
    April 28 2014, 03:50PM
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    the-wolf wrote:

    Certainly going to have to wait and see how he does here, but it's impossible to determine what accomplishments hockey guys (outside of the GM chair - and even then) are really responsible for because everything happens behind the scenes.

    Look at Button. He's survived something like 5 GMs. How? He must take rel good notes so that eh can demonstrated what he wanted vs. what actually happened. But fans will never know.

    Did drafting improve under Feaster because of Feaster's knowledge or just because he stayed out of the way? Was it Button or Weisbrod who made the bigger difference behind the scenes? We'll never really know.

    BB, on the other hand, would have access to that sort of information through both formal and informal channels. In other words, BB shouldn't have had any problems in learning/verifying/evaluating the moves Trelving was responsible for.

    Not a huge fan of what Todd Button has done and think drafting improved because of Feaster bringing in Weisbrod, but it is interesting though that according to many Feaster/Weisbrod also fired our old scouting staff after the draft in Minnesota and brought in younger scouts that to my knowledge are still with Calgary. I think that was the biggest thing even if I am not a fan of Todd Button the scouting staff that reports to him are much more capable of doing their jobs, afterall the Head Scout isn't the one watching them on a daily basis.. Apparently the old scouts that Feaster let go of were old relics guys who were throwbacks to our glory days completely out of touch of the modern game. I think he just served them with retirement papers if anything.

    I think it is kind of funny GMs always get the credit for drafting... Fairly certain most of the credit for drafting would be on the abilities of the area scouts to bring/hype the right guys. Which considering we are a much improved crop after Feaster brought in fresh blood in terms of the area scouts our new GM will have a good group to work with he just needs to sign-off on the right people.

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    #68 Jeff Lebowski
    April 28 2014, 04:16PM
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    Steinberg asks the same soft ball questions every time.

    How proud are you of your time in PHX?

    Who cares?!!?? Ask him questions about this team!!!

    What does he think of the coach? What kind of playing style does he prefer all things equal - chip n chase or puck possession? What was his impression of Hartley's team this season?

    BT says he thinks there are areas of strength and areas that need improvement - what are those areas?

    What is he looking for in an AGM? What kinds of knowledge does he value - former player knowledge, analytic knowledge?

    Calgary media are too damn meek. Ask direct, pointed questions that unearth what makes this guy's hockey mind tick?

    What did you dad mean to you? Good god.

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    #69 Dave
    April 28 2014, 04:19PM
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    @Jeff Lebowski

    "BT says he thinks there are areas of strength and areas that need improvement - what are those areas?"

    I know as fans we want this knowledge but strategically from a team perspective it makes more sense to be vague. If every other team knows what your perceived weakness is how are you supposed to negotiate from a position of strength.

    It makes sense for a GM to be tight lipped as much as fans hate it.

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    #70 Jeff Lebowski
    April 28 2014, 04:24PM
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    Dave wrote:

    "BT says he thinks there are areas of strength and areas that need improvement - what are those areas?"

    I know as fans we want this knowledge but strategically from a team perspective it makes more sense to be vague. If every other team knows what your perceived weakness is how are you supposed to negotiate from a position of strength.

    It makes sense for a GM to be tight lipped as much as fans hate it.

    Then let him be vague. It's a good proxy for his poker face. If you don't ask the question at all - that's lame and reflects on the media not the GM.

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    #71 Jeff Lebowski
    April 28 2014, 04:48PM
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    Bean-counting cowboy wrote:

    I'm with you. I think Burke catches a lot of unnecessary flak and I think he will let the GM do his thing. This team has got to be way better than the schmoz up North!

    I think it is fair to say Burke allows a healthy distance for people who work for him.

    Conroy has mentioned that Burke let's him make decisions and they talk about it if Burke didn't like it AFTER the fact.

    Or Burke's comments about if you discuss things and provide persepectives reasonable people can have a healthy debate.

    I had big issues with Burke, simply because I enjoyed what Feaster and Weisbrod were doing in terms of adding skill. I didn't like that Burke fired those two rather than imposing his philosophy on people.

    That defines not sticking your nose in.

    Burke's personality rubs me the wrong way in the amount he is in front of cameras.

    However, Burke didn't do anything stupid and things he said, although I didn't like them per se, weren't selling state secrets. He just likes the sound of his voice.

    Upon reflection I'm less worried about Burke - I looked at his actions. That doesn't mean I'm a fan. This new regime (Burke as acting GM, Burke as POHO) hasn't really put their stamp on the org...yet.

    We'll see.

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    #72 FXO
    April 28 2014, 05:02PM
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    Always been impressed with Don Maloney, hope Mr. Treliving has learned well under his tutelage. Good move 'on paper' at least.

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    #73 FlamesFan1489
    April 28 2014, 06:42PM
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    Sounds like a pretty good hiring from the word around the hockey world. Phoenix has dealt with a lot of issues and have still been competitive (with a decent playoff run 2 years ago). Maybe we might be able to nix Pizza 73 and get BP's in the Dome!

    I'm glad we didn't hire Nieuwy for the job. Not that I don't think he would have done a good job, but you could tell he just wanted to focus on his family after his departure from Dallas, and being the GM in a hockey town would have done the opposite towards this. This is great news for the Flames and for Joe!

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    #74 Burnward
    April 28 2014, 08:40PM
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    Bean-counting cowboy wrote:

    Great question by Pinder regarding advanced metrics and the response by Treliving in my mind was encouraging. "we will lead the league in gathering information". Sounds like they did use that type of info in Phoenix.

    "we will lead the league in gathering information".

    Bet you neither Azevedo or Kent could stand for a good half-hour after hearing this.

    Ha!

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    #75 BobbyO
    April 28 2014, 08:49PM
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    beloch wrote:

    Pretend that you are a currently employed NHL GM who has years of experience running the show. Now pretend that President Burke has come to you and asked you to be his GM. Do you feel like you'd be moving laterally in terms of power?

    Treliving was a quality assistant GM in Phoenix and could have taken a position where he reported directly to the owners. Instead, he's reporting to Burke. It's a smaller step up in power for him than he appears to be qualified for. As I said, he may one day be ready to fight the power. When he is ready, fireworks will happen and either he'll supplant Burke as pres or head off to greener pastures where he can be a full GM and not a GM who is an assistant to the President.

    Have you been drinking?

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    #76 Justin Azevedo
    April 28 2014, 09:42PM
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    Burnward wrote:

    "we will lead the league in gathering information".

    Bet you neither Azevedo or Kent could stand for a good half-hour after hearing this.

    Ha!

    lucky for me that i was driving.

    hey, if brad or brian want to talk about information I'm more than willing to talk to them about everything i know.

    they can find me next time i'm at the rink

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    #77 Burnward
    April 28 2014, 09:56PM
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    @Justin Azevedo

    You'll be the guy with the CORSI shirsey? ;)

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    #78 MC Hockey
    April 28 2014, 10:06PM
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    prendrefeu wrote:

    So your beef is with Burke, not Treliving?

    In terms of the on-going debate of "Size" vs. "Speed & Skill" vs. "Truculence" or whatever mixer you want to throw into the ring, I personally do not see any clear advantage to be in any one aspect over the other. There is a necessity for balance, and that is something that Burke himself has mentioned however it does get overshadowed by the key words the media tends to pick up, hone on, and repeat back to Burke as questions. Burke wants skill - he has said that. Fans/media tend to ignore that he said that and just focus on that 'toughness' thing a bit. It doesn't help that Burke looks like a retired Sonic the Hedgehog with a hint of a 'beligerent local down at the pub' demeanor, but hey that just lends fuel to the fire for critics who hold on to the few key words he says.

    How would you classify Boston? Speed & Skill? Size? Truculent? They seem to mark many boxes, but they are not on the team of "St. Louis sized players" by any stretch of the imagination. They're big. They're skilled. They're also tough. Looking at their Height and Weight average compared to other teams, they're mostly hovering around the middle. Yep, average. They're also the most cited team to lift the cup in a month and a few weeks time. Coincidence?

    Then we can look at LA - they're really skilled. Top ranks in Height and Weight. But tough? I don't see it, certainly not on the 'eye' test. They were much 'tougher' when they won the cup a few years ago, now they look like their blade's edge is a bit dulled from cutting paper compared to that year when they were cutting flesh. You're looking at a team with skill but not really playing big. Let's see how far that gets them.

    So we have small players, Gaudreau, Byron, etc:. Awesome. They can light the heck out of that lamp just like St. Louis does... and yes, Burke wants that. He even said so! But he also said he wants all players to 'play big' meaning that the small guys too need some grit to them. Meaning that there needs to be some other, larger players around that can play big - not necessarily goon like - but just to open up the lanes, impose on defense, and make the necessary hits.

    One reason I really, really loved this season compared to past years? Calgary finally got back to making life difficult for visitors. Sure the Flames didn't win every home game, but every single team that came through the Saddledome knew it wouldn't be a walk over (exception the Dallas game). Every team knew that the trip to Alberta would be tough. Shots would get blocked, the Flames would play above their paper numbers, and a simple win would have to be earned through an exhaustive effort. I love that. I want that. I want the Flames to have the skill to light up the lamp and at the same time not skate around the rink like a bunch of primadonnas afraid to make a hit, forecheck, or block a shot. I want the Flames to FIRE IT UP just like the motto down at the bottom of this page. So Burke wants some toughness? He's already made that happen in the first year after YEARS of the Flames being sort of 'meh' in effort. Now we're adding skill into the equation without losing the toughness. New guys coming in better be tough, too.

    Funny about the Sonic the Hedgehog and belligerent local at pub, love that!

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