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Brad Treliving’s departure nearly unprecedented in Calgary Flames history

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
11 months ago
On Monday, the Calgary Flames announced general manager Brad Treliving’s departure from the club. The move was painted as a mutual decision in the team’s announcement, but comments from president of hockey operations Don Maloney and club president and CEO John Bean strongly suggested that it was Treliving’s decision to depart.
The nature of Treliving’s exit, a GM calling his own shot, is almost unprecedented in Flames history.
In the 51-year history of the Flames franchise, dating back to the Atlanta days, the club has had seven fully-fledged GMs, including Treliving. The majority of them were fired by the club, had their contracts not renewed, or resigned because the team asked them to.
Here’s a quick rundown of prior GM departures:

Cliff Fletcher

A legendary figure in the Flames pantheon, Fletcher served as GM from the initial expansion process until the 1991 off-season. He announced his resignation as GM and club president at a May 17, 1991 news conference, and cited feeling like he was getting stale and wanted a fresh challenge. At the time, he more or less had an indefinite contract and ownership had to agree to him departing, which they likely did due to their affection for him after 19 seasons and a Stanley Cup win.

Doug Risebrough

Initially serving as both head coach and GM after Fletcher’s resignation, Risebrough served as GM until November 3, 1995, when he was fired by executive vice-president Al Coates, who assumed the role on interim basis. (Coates assumed the GM role permanently after Ron Bremner’s arrival as team president on May 30, 1996, ending a lengthy process of changing up the team’s executive structure after the addition of new owners in 1994.)

Al Coates

Coates was fired on April 11, 2000 by Bremner, part of a wide-spread culling of the hockey ops department that also saw the coaching staff not have their contracts renewed and a few other individuals depart. No interim GM was announced, and the hockey side of the team was pretty lean until a GM was hired prior to the NHL Draft.

Craig Button

Button’s contract was announced as not being renewed on April 11, 2003, with head coach Darryl Sutter announced as his replacement as GM.

Darryl Sutter

Sutter officially resigned from the GM position on December 28, 2010. In the media conference following the announcement, team president Ken King noted that “Darryl’s stepping down because I asked him to.” Assistant GM Jay Feaster took over on an interim basis, and was promoted to the position fully following the season.

Jay Feaster

Feaster’s firing was announced on December 12, 2013. President of hockey operations Brian Burke took over on an interim basis.
So, of the six previous Flames GMs that left the job, five of them really had no say in the matter. The only situation that’s somewhat comparable from Treliving’s decision to step away from the team would be Fletcher’s.

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