It’s entirely possible that Brian Bruke is stopping in Calgary to visit his daughter en route to a Sept. 6 fundraiser for the Lloyd Bobcats Evening of Champions in Saskatchewan.
Or he’s in the process of joining the Calgary Flames front office.
Burke was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 9 after over four years as president and general manager, having previously served as GM with the Anaheim Ducks (where he won the Stanley Cup), Vancouver Canucks and Hartford Whalers. He did some scouting for Anaheim last season, and then rejoined the USA Hockey braintrust to help select the 2014 team headed to Sochi.
But you knew that.
Burke was a negotiator for the NHL in last season’s lockout, working beside Flames owner Murray Edwards. One imagines they spent some time speaking lovingly about Gary Bettman before discussing any opportunities in Calgary.
The Flames were previously in talks with Brendan Shanahan to have the Department of Player Safety sheriff join the front office. From the Calgary Sun:
The Flames admitted talking to Shanahan — who even came to the Stampede City and met with majority owner Murray Edwards and president Ken King — and other candidates for a position, with current GM Jay Feaster remaining in his current post as well as assistant GM player personnel John Weisbrod.
Shanahan opted to remain with the Department of Player Safety where, of course, Burke’s son Patrick is now on staff.
We’ll see if there’s any fire to this smoke. Burke’s obviously a great fit for the Flames as a team builder: Taking over a rudderless franchise, acting as its carnival barker and immediately giving Calgary a new identity.
If nothing else, having the guy who pulled the trigger on the Dion Phaneuf trade return to the scene of the crime would be delicious irony for both team and executive.