When legendary Vancouver Canuck Trevor Linden announced earlier this week that he was resigning from his position as the team’s President of Hockey Operations effective immediately, he sent shockwaves throughout the entire NHL. What?! How!? Why!?
Canucks fans, the media and evidently the rest of the Canucks’ management team was blindsided by the announcement. Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini described the split as “amicable”, but declined to mention the specifics around Linden’s resignation. Did he quit? Or was he fired?
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun asserts that Linden was indeed fired for not seeing eye to eye with Aquilini and Canucks general manager Jim Benning on the team’s rebuilding tactics. Check out these quotes from Simmons’ latest article:
The story isn’t quite as it appeared: Trevor Linden did not amicably agree to leave the presidency of the Vancouver Canucks. He was, for lack of a better word, fired by owner Francesco Aquilini.
This is a messy story, still to be explored in full, of the Vancouver legend, Linden, who could no longer operate in the toxic environment of the Canucks front office and ownership.
Linden was caught in the middle of a power struggle and a hockey struggle of sorts, with an impatient Aquilini on one side and his general manager, Jim Benning, and personnel man, John Weisbrod, nastily selling out the team president in exchange for their own power and security.
All this coming after Linden went to bat for Benning in order to get his contract extended. Benning got extended. Linden got shown the door.
And those on the inside are still somewhat shocked at the lack of loyalty Benning demonstrated to Linden and how the GM and Weisbrod played footsy with ownership, who isn’t so committed to a long-term rebuild and really, wants to make the playoffs now.
Linden has yet to speak publicly about his departure in a place where he is still considered something of a hero. He did issue a statement on leaving the Canucks. He never did mention Aquilini or Benning in his goodbye.
Interesting take. Of course, this flies in the face of reports out of Vancouver that it was actually Linden who felt it necessary to speed up the team’s rebuild, but Benning and Aquilini insisted on a slower, more measured approach.
As always, take anything Simmons reports with a GIANT grain of salt. He has a history of stirring the pot and reporting on things that he has no first hand knowledge of. Still… if what Simmons reports is true, it only sheds more light on an awful, toxic situation in Vancouver.