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.

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.

  • 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….


  • buts

    Love his quotes and candid honesty. Just didn’t see any truculence in this team…..a bit under Hartley/Burke but in the last 3 years the team has been very soft in it’s overall play, especially these last 2 years. Off the subject I got trashed for saying LVK were a very well coached team in December….did you see how they played last night after a 9 day layoff compared to how Calgary played after a 5 day winter break….very impressive 5 on 5 and PP/PK. That my friends is called good coaching.

    • Schmenkley

      Following on Jobu’s “in all fairness” theme, a nine day lay off while you prepare for the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs will allow for a LOT MORE focus from the team than a five day break in the dog days of winter, where the majority of the boys are laying on beaches somewhere feeling good about themselves and their recent string of success.

  • 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?

  • 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

  • Jimmyhaggis

    A good hire at the time, BT is on is own now, and I’m sure that was the plan from the beginning. I agree, King seems to be the one holding up a new arena deal.

  • The GREAT WW

    Say what you want about Burke as POHO, but full credit to Burke for his generosity (both in money and time) supporting various charities around town.

    You will be missed at the Cowboys annual Stampede charity poker tournament, Burke!!!!!!


  • RKD

    Finally some real change the coaching change was inevitable however this is what we talked about. The accountability starts at the top, while BT is the GM, Burke had the final say on all hockey decisions like signing Troy Brouwer.

  • Glensfunnyface

    Former Calgary Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan is in talks with multiple teams regarding an assistant/associate coaching job and the Edmonton Oilers are believed to be among them. DO IT EDMONTON!

  • BitGeek

    “I just wish he’d learn to tie a damned tie.”

    And yet…. you picked a photo where his tie is actually knotted around his collar. Love the irony there Ryan. 😉

  • 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.

  • Hockeysense9393

    There is a future expansion team in the horizon… Maybe already talking with Seattle owners to head up their hockey operations? That’s one thing he has never experienced and may be a challenge that suits him.

      • RegHen

        KevinR the original mullet man from the 80’s has my vote. As city council starts to talk about a new arena again it was time for Brian “the savior” Burke to go. We don’t need him flapping his gums making things worse. Kev if you wear a tie don’t do the Burkie wrap over your shoulders. The Nensh will think it’s the same old same old. And while you’re there send King back to The Sun.

  • FLT

    Good insight Pike. I didn’t know the org was such a mess from a hockey ops perspective under Feaster, but in hindsight that makes sense. His input on player evaluation and roster construction likely won’t be missed, but he’s done a good job setting up a management structure for future success.

    My only personal regret is that more sonic the hedgehog references weren’t made.

    • FLT

      Also worth mentioning is the amount of charity work he did personally, and the amount he pushed for from the players and rest of the organization. His support of the LGBTQ community was a particular passion. Leadership like that has a lasting impact and is more important than his impact on the Flames. Good on him for it.

    • Joeyhere

      I’ll never forget Feaster’s press conference when it was a reporter who pointed out to him that due to CBA rules the Flames woudl have lost two draft picks. Feaster just blinked looked stunned and later said he knew it all along. Or when Feaster would try to motivate the team by doing a clown dance in the dressing room. We needed Burke to add some credibility and accountability back on 2013. Hopefully with Burke gone now we take another step forward and for Calgary to start seeing elite sports management for a change ( I can hope can’t I ?)

    • buts

      Funny how so many people compliment Burke on all his charity work with the flames then when arena talks come up Nenshi and many commenters say the flames owners are greedy and where’s the public benefit from the team.

    • Hockeysense9393

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. Burke has done so many different things through the years…but has never had the chance to head up a new franchise from bottom up. This would be a great opportunity to solidify his name into hockey lore? I hope he gets this chance…