Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/5of7

Brian Burke to depart Flames organization on May 1

The Brian Burke era is ending in Calgary. The Flames organization has announced in a press release that Burke, president of hockey operations for the hockey club since September 2013, will be leaving the organization on May 1.

Burke was hands-on early for a couple reasons. After an initial review of the hockey operations department, he assumed the role of interim general manager following his firing of Jay Feaster in December 2013. Burke served in that role until he hired Brad Treliving for the full-time GM role in April 2014, then served as a mentor and sounding board for Treliving for a period until the new GM got his sea legs and Burke settled into more of an advisory role.

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Burke’s 2013 hiring lent the Flames a bit of hockey operations credibility at a time where it was, frankly, sorely lacking. Feaster’s time as GM saw a few gaffes and blunders – remember almost losing Ryan O’Reilly and two high draft picks due to CBA confusion? – but Burke’s arrival sent a message to the market that things were going to be done differently from then on. And then things actually were done differently, which helped ease the transition to the Treliving regime.

In a statement, Flames president and CEO Ken King thanked Burke for his time with the club:

When Brian came to us in September 2013 we discussed a structure and timeline of four to five years for his new role. Each year we review our mandate going forward and determined together that we would move on. Brian’s leadership and guidance of our hockey operations and work with General Manager Brad Treliving have been exemplary and we are grateful for his contributions. His charity work and organizational representation in our community are legendary as he has touched so many with his generosity.

With Burke’s departure, it seems logical to presume that vice-president of hockey operations Don Maloney will assume his advisory role – regardless of whether Maloney’s title ends up changing.

Burke was always a fun person to bump into in the Saddledome hallways, always wanting to talk about the latest news in hockey or his most recent charitable endeavour. He leaves a lasting legacy with the Flames. I just wish he’d learn to tie a damned tie.

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  • Who is Alberta’s team?

    It was common knowledge that he had full control over all trades. They may as well re introduce treliving cause maybe now he’ll get to GM on his own. Imagine when King asked “well who’s decision was it to trade away all our picks for career minor leaguers in Lazar and stone. Even more picks given away to grumpy grandpa Smith and the best one of all. The Hamonic debacle?”

    Tre probably said “wasn’t me” Lol

  • Parallex


    Never should have been hired in the first place. Of all the things you can reasonably attribute to him there was one good decision and a whole lot of fail.

    • Hockeysense9393

      He was hired to right a ship that was obviously rudderless. He did that. He was hired as top gun for hockey operations and that was wholly his job. He gave the Flames back some credibility within the eyes of the league. No matter what people say about him…he is still a very respected member of the hockey community, and that was the point. Rumours are rumours about him having a heavy hand on actual team personnel decisions and I’m sure some of that is true; but he also did his job in the scope of things. Now we’ll see if BT gets full control of “his” team direction moving forward…or even if Burke was really a “fall guy” in this scenario. “My job is done here” as it may go… If the rumour is true about Malone? That may be better for a 2 headed snake mentality for this team moving forward?

  • Joeyhere

    Leaving May 1 means three business days notice, pretty clear he was fired (he’s not retiring ) vs the “mutual” decision line. And that’s just fine – needed him in 2013 and his charity work and hockey passion is exemplary but the best before date has expired. Good luck Brian but it’s time this team moved on.

    • Walt Whitman

      Not necessarily. Without revealing my own identity, one of my former companies sent out a PR about my departure only 1 week prior to my final day even though I had tendered my letter of resignation two months earlier and spent the final two months in developing transitional guidelines (and interviewing my eventual successor). The reason we decided to announce this to the public so far after the internal announcement was purely intended to keep our investors (in the case of the Flames, their fans or media pundits) relatively calm and not having two months of conjecture regarding the company’s future. They’re doing just fine since I’ve left, by the way.

  • Raffydog

    So the next stupid trade or free agent signing that Treliving makes will be Ken Kings fault now. Quickly running out of people to blame for Trelivings mismanagement of the roster.

  • oddclod

    Rumour. Flames sold/selling to a Houston group. City councillors a buzz. Nenshi a tar/feather candidate. Friend of a friend but FN clout if I’m right you heard it from ODDY – @oddclod instagram

    • oddclod

      Timing it gained traction? Bettman’s visit. Recalling his dissatisfaction with yyc revenue / building it makes me wonder. The guy is a squid. LV is a fiasco. Thankfully we didn’t lose a Marshessalt (sp) Karlsson

      • The Doctor

        Yeah what a shock. You set up the most outrageously favourable expansion draft in the history of pro sports and lo and behold, the expansion team ends up being really good.

    • McRib

      The Houston Rockets were one of the best teams in basketball this year and they finished 16th in attendance. The Astros were one of the most exciting teams in MLB history a team filled with .300+ hittters and they didn’t even crack the Top. 14 in attendance on the way to a World Series. You’re telling me the Flames are going to leave a Canadian market like Calgary were Hockey is King, to go to a bad sports city in the sourthern US that couldn’t even support an AHL franchise? Hahahah.

        • oddclod

          My opinion to the rumour (if it’s true) is it fits with King’s recent shift in the arena negotiation. Aka there is no negotiation. Use your head. What you’re saying is obvious. Why would the nhl move from Calgary? Well yeah. These executives are smart. They tried to get their arena deal the straight forward way now what? Katz was seen in Seattle, then next thing you know he got the deal. If this is true it makes sense city councillors are shuffling about.

          • Kevin R

            AS much as I despise & hate that lying backstabbing Nenshi to the core, he’s not dumb. But he is wrong & the Flames are wrong & we’re going to probably find out the hard way two wrongs don’t equal a right. The web you are spinning, if true, & given the Nenshi factor may roll out to seeing Flames move to Houston or somewhere. Meantime, Nenshi continues his Olympic bid push & Victoria Park revitalization. Then we see a new arena built, on tax dollars via City & Federal & Provincial Governments, but it’s still tax dollars . Hopefully after 8 or so years after we have no professional hockey & not a heck of a lot of need for Calgarians to venture to downtown & all that big dollar Victoria Park revitalization, the new mayor (ABN anybody but Nenshi) realizes the economic value of a professional hockey team bringing 18-20000 people to the downtown 50+ something times a year, creating economy for C-Trains, restaurants, bars/pubs, Casinos & merchants. Like the Winnipeg Jets, we will finally get our hockey team back.
            Not sure why it has to go this way & certainly not the economy for this. It’s more of a time both sides treat as an investment that will reap benefits for everyone in the future.

  • Alberta Ice

    Hope Flames find the right replacement. Reading Maple Leaf fan comments about Burke these past five years were not pleasant. Was not a fan of his after his sending Sven packing and on to Vancouver. (And really sour over losing Paul Byron on the waiver line to the Canadiens.)

  • The GREAT WW

    Looks like Burke is the fall guy for “going all in” and trading away our unprotected first round pick with a terrible coach.

    The timing is perfect….