In a move that surprised everyone, the Toronto Maple Leafs have fired general manager and president, Brian Burke.
The MLSE board informed Burke this morning that he would no longer be running the Maple Leafs. Bob McKenzie first broke the news around 12:30 PM.
Dave Nonis has been named the 14th general manager on a permanent basis. Burke will remain with the Maple Leafs in a senior adviser role. Coach Randy Carlyle will remain as teams coach to start the season.
From C.O.O Tom Anselmi:
“I’ve worked closely with our Board to evaluate the long-term direction of the Leafs, and as a result of this assessment we have decided to make these leadership changes,” said Anselmi.
“We are grateful to have such a deep and talented hockey operations department to allow us to make such significant changes seamlessly. We believe in Dave and the team and their abilities to lead the Maple Leafs out of this lockout and into the upcoming season.
“Brian will not have direct authority over hockey operations, however this new role will allow our Board and I to continue to benefit from his hockey expertise. We want to thank Brian for accepting his new role and staying on with our organization.”
There has been speculation that the Burke did not want to trade for Roberto Luongo, while many within the organization wanted to.
One NHL team executive believes Burke’s reluctance to move on Luongo cost him but I think there’s more to it than that…
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) January 9, 2013
Source: “Chances of Luongo in Toronto just improved.”
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) January 9, 2013
Mark Spector of Sportsnet.ca writes that a source confirms that Burke was unwilling to make the Luongo trade that so many others were pushing for, including new GM Dave Nonis. It’s hard to believe that he was let go solely on this, but it may have been the final straw for upper management.
— Alex Seixeiro (@alexfan590) January 9, 2013