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How experienced have previous Calgary Flames general managers been?

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
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The Calgary Flames are expected to name a new general manager very shortly. But that hire comes on the heels of a fairly extensive search, as it’s not like they can just hire anybody off the street.
That said, there are some general trends and commonalities between the seven previous Flames GMs, and the two rumoured internal GM candidates stack up well relative to past hockey ops bosses.

Age

Defined as the age a GM was during the Flames‘ first game with them at the helm, the average has been 43 years, 22 days.
Here’s the general trend, going from youngest to oldest:
  • Cliff Fletcher (1972): 37 years, 1 month, 22 days
  • Doug Risebrough (1991): 37 years, 8 months, 6 days
  • Craig Button (2000): 37 years, 9 months, 3 days
  • Darryl Sutter (2003): 45 years, 1 month, 21 days
  • Brad Treliving (2014): 45 years, 1 month, 21 days
  • Jay Feaster (2010): 48 years, 5 months, 2 days
  • Al Coates (1995): 49 years, 11 months, 2 days
If either internal GM candidate, Craig Conroy or Brad Pascall, were hired as the new boss, they would each be the oldest guy to start that gig. Conroy turns 52 in September, Pascall turns 53 in July.
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Playing experience

Of the Flames’ seven GMs, four had no high-end playing experience to speak of: Fletcher, Button, Feaster and Coates.
Risebrough had the best playing career, with 13 seasons and four Stanley Cups under his belt. Sutter had eight seasons in the NHL. Treliving had minor-league experience, but never made the NHL.
(Both Risebrough and Sutter had served as captains or co-captains in the NHL.)
Of the internal candidates: Pascall played minor pro, similar to Treliving, while Conroy played 16 seasons in the NHL (and was briefly Flames captain).

Executive experience

As you would expect, experience as a hockey executive would be important in becoming a GM.
Feaster had been a GM previously, winning a Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay at some point, and had spent roughly two decades in hockey. He was the Flames’ assistant GM when he was promoted. He’s the only individual with previous GM experience before becoming Flames GM.
Treliving had spent over a decade with the Coyotes organization in various roles, primarily assistant GM. Before that, he had founded the Western Professional Hockey League and later helmed it through its merger with the Central Hockey League.
Fletcher had been an assistant GM with the Blues for several years when he was hired. Before that, he had spent a decade as a scout with Montreal.
Coates had been with the Flames for 15 seasons, working in any number of roles. He became assistant GM (and then president) before becoming GM.
Button had spent over a decade with the Stars organization in various scouting and player personnel roles.
Risebrough had spent a single season as full-time assistant GM, but he had done a fairly broad apprenticeship after his retirement in both coaching and management.
Sutter had no formal front office experience, though he had a ton of coaching experience.
Of the internal options, Conroy has spent over a decade in a couple roles with the Flames, while Pascall has spent time both in the Flames’ front office and in several roles with Hockey Canada.

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