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Breaking: Flames drop a bomb concerning executive Brian Burke

Is The Burkey Era over and done in Calgary?

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A vague social media update to Twitter from TSN reporter and NHL insider Bob McKenzie has the hockey world standing at attention this morning, wondering about current Calgary Flames executive Brian Burke and his future with the team. 

Here’s what McKenzie had to say about Burke and the situation in Calgary earlier today:

Lots of speculation concerning Brian Burke’s future in CGY and whether he may move on to new ventures/challenges. The principals involved did not respond to inquiries.

New ventures/challenges? Like… another NHL team? Or maybe he goes back to the NHL’s head offices in New York? There’s a huge role to be filled at USA Hockey with the passing of Jim Johanson… could that be a fit for 62 year old executive? Until either McKenzie clarifies his reporting or the Flames make some sort of definitive statement on the matter, all we can do is speculate.

It’s been nearly five years since Burke has hired by the Flames, not as its general manager, but rather for a position that the Flames defined as President of Hockey Operations. Burke’s role with the Flames is to act as a buffer between GM Brad Treliving and ownership and act as an advisor to both parties. According to the Flames, Burke has no direct responsibility for team personnel decisions. It’s worth noting, however, that Burke is the man responsible for hiring Treliving to his position back in April of 2014.

If Burke is indeed finished in Calgary, he’ll leave the team with a 197-178-35 record over five seasons, good enough for just 22nd in winning percentage in the NHL over that span. Awful? No. Good? Not really…

The Flames have made the playoffs just twice in the past five seasons and, with week’s hiring of new head coach Bill Peters, the team is on their third coach in just five years. Of course, Glen Gulutzan was relieved of his duties last week after two lacklustre seasons and Bob Hartley, a longtime friend of Burke’s, was fired in 2016. 

With Peters now in the fold and Treliving’s job seemingly safe for now, it’s not a total surprise to see Burke leave the organization. For better or worse, it looks like the Flames are trying to turn the page on past failures and move forward with a new, fresh group behind the scenes. It’s tough to do that when you have an opinionated, old school type like Burke calling the shots from a high ranking executive position.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: The Flames have officially announced that Burke will be stepping down from his position with the team next week.