Flyers name Keith Jones president of hockey ops, Danny Briere full-time GM

Flyers announce new front office dynamic, aim to rebuild 'winning tradition' originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Flyers made it official Thursday morning, naming Keith Jones their president of hockey operations and removing the interim label from Danny Briere's general manager title.

The organization has called it a new era, announcing its reworked dynamic for the front office.

In the press release from the Flyers, the team stated:

"The president of hockey operations will lead the strategic direction for all aspects of the hockey operations department while collaborating on business goals. The general manager is responsible for all hockey decisions as it pertains to signings, trades and draft picks as well as overseeing scouting, player development, roster construction and more. Head coach John Tortorella will remain boss of the bench and like most head coaches in the NHL, he’ll provide input on various management topics."

The Flyers are rebuilding and doing so with a new face at the top in Dan Hilferty, who has succeeded Dave Scott as Comcast Spectacor chairman and CEO and governor of the Flyers.

The team will feature a five-person, "unified leadership group," as it stated in the release. The group will consist of Hilferty, Jones, Briere, president and CEO of Spectacor Sports & Entertainment Valerie Camillo and head coach John Tortorella.

"Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to put together collaborative teams that have achieved great things," Hilferty said in a statement. "This is about more than simply hiring a president of hockey operations and general manager. We are thoughtfully constructing a leadership team. Our top priority was to find leaders who bring unique skill sets, experience and temperament to maximize the group’s potential.

"With this new Flyers leadership in place, we are committed to a collaborative approach on and off the ice. The five leaders of the business and hockey operations will work in lockstep across all areas to restore the winning tradition of Flyers hockey."

The Flyers will introduce Jones and Briere in an 11:30 a.m. ET press conference Friday at the Wells Fargo Center. Hilferty, Camillo and Tortorella will be alongside them.

The hiring of Jones was likely surprising to some considering the 54-year-old had worked exclusively in broadcasting following his playing days. He had spent the last 17 seasons as a color commentator for the team's television broadcast on Comcast SportsNet/NBC Sports Philadelphia. He had also served NBC Sports and Turner Sports for national broadcasts.

Jones was a seventh-round draft pick of the Capitals in 1988 and had a nine-year NHL career. His final three seasons were played in a Flyers jersey from 1998 to 2000. He finished his career with 117 goals and 258 points over 491 games.

"I would like to thank Dan Hilferty for this opportunity and confidence in me," Jones said in a statement. "Today is one of the most humble and proudest days of my life. To be able to lead this team back to the winning tradition that everyone knows it can, and should be, is a true honor and one that I do not take lightly.

"I consider the Philadelphia Flyers organization the gold standard of the NHL and professional sports. I’ve seen how this city and these fans can rally around their team and there is nothing that compares to that feeling. With this leadership group in place, I am beyond excited and fully confident that we are on the right path and the results will come."

Despite not having any front office experience, Jones is well-connected within the league and holds a firm grasp of the organization's values. He brings an easygoing and communicative style, which doesn't hurt in a management role.

The Flyers called their search for a new president of hockey ops an "extensive process." It was led by Hilferty, Camillo and "talented advisors, including Modern Executive Solutions," Hilferty said.

The organization has undergone significant change since March, when it fired Chuck Fletcher from his role as president and GM. Later that month, Scott, the head of ownership, announced his retirement. When the Flyers relieved Fletcher, they decided to change their approach by separating the roles of president and GM. Clearly having better synergy between the business and hockey sides was important to the Flyers.

"It was critical to find someone who would complement Coach Tortorella and Danny in their roles while overseeing the strategic direction of the team," Hilferty said. "As a former player whose career concluded in Philadelphia, 'Jonesy' understands the value of creating chemistry and enabling leadership within a team. He has extensive experience analyzing and evaluating talent, and knows firsthand how important collaboration is on and off ice — a key factor for us moving forward."

The 45-year-old Briere will get his first crack at being a general manager in the NHL. The former Flyer has been viewed as an up-and-coming hockey mind. He'll be tasked and trusted with shaping the future of the club's roster.

"The thing I think we'll see with Danny, he's a deep thinker," Tortorella said in March. "I don't think it's reactionary. He'll see things and I think he has the ability to transform it back to what he was doing at that time as a player because he played in the league and was such a good player in the league, to maybe understand it a little bit better. Especially in the evaluation process, to see how guys are moving along.

"I've known him for so long. ... He doesn't think he has all the answers. He's a student, also."

More: Jones, Briere have something notable to help fend off inexperience concerns

The Flyers have fallen hard and now face a steep climb. They've missed the playoffs the last three seasons, going a combined 81-107-32 over that span. They've won just one playoff series in the last 11 seasons.

In March, Briere admitted the Flyers were in a rebuild, but that it didn't qualify as a fire sale. His dream has been to lead the Flyers.

"I’ve dedicated my life to the sport of hockey and to be given this opportunity with the confidence from Dan Hilferty and the leadership group, in a city that means so much to me, words cannot describe my excitement," Briere said in a statement. "I truly believe this is an exciting time for the Flyers with the steps that we’ve taken this past season, the way our team has responded to the standard that was set both on and off the ice, and the path that we are on. There is a lot of work to be done, but these last few months have only strengthened my resolve and made me even more eager to rebuild this team and deliver this city a Stanley Cup."

Back on March 19, 1998, Briere made his NHL debut playing against Jones, who was a winger for the Avalanche.

Briere was a center for the Coyotes. His assistant coach was Tortorella.

Now, all three are running the Flyers together.

Subscribe to and rate Flyers Talk

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube