CALGARY – After seven years of learning the ropes in Phoenix, Brad Treliving says he’s ready to return home and take the reins of an NHL team in a hockey-mad market.
The Flames announced Monday that Treliving, a former assistant general manager with the Coyotes, will take over the vacant GM spot in Calgary.
“I’m ready for this,”Treliving said. “I know the challenges here we have ahead of us as a team … I know the expectations of this market. I know the expectations of this fan base. And I want you to know I’m prepared for this and I’m ready for this challenge.”
Team president of hockey operations Brian Burke officially announced the hiring at an afternoon news conference.
“Make no mistake about it folks, Brad is the general manager of this team, effective right now,” Burke said, adding that Treliving was the only candidate the Flames interviewed.
“It’s important people understand that. It speaks volumes for what we think of Brad as a general manager,” Burke said.
Treliving, a native of Penticton, B.C., referred to himself a “proud Western Canadian” and said he welcomed the move.
“In a lot of ways I look at this as a homecoming,” the 44-year-old said. “Coming in yesterday, seeing the Rocky Mountains … I appreciate Brian and (Flames president and CEO Ken King’s) hospitality. You got rid of the snow for a guy who’s had his blood thinning in the desert the past few years.”
Treliving also had kind words for the Coyotes organization, where he worked closely with GM Don Maloney and was in charge of their AHL affiliate in Portland. Treliving worked for the Coyotes while they were on shaky ground and administered by the NHL before being bought by a Canadian-led group last year.
“I know for a lot of people up here and outside of the Phoenix market over the past few years, there’s been a lot of stories written (but) it was a great experience there because of the people there.”
Treliving will take over general manager duties from Burke, who served as interim GM after firing Jay Feaster in December.
“He is the single most significant factor for me being here today,” Treliving said of Burke.
Treliving is also assistant GM for Team Canada at the IIHF world championship. He previously served as president of the Central Hockey League and president and director of hockey operations for the Western Professional Hockey League, which he founded.
The Flames missed the playoffs for the fifth straight season after finishing with a 35-40-7 record for 77 points. Calgary was 13th in the Western Conference standings.
As the Coyotes’ vice-president of hockey operations, Treliving worked closely with Maloney on personnel matters and helping build a team despite the financial limitations of being run by the NHL for four seasons.
“Brad has learned at the knee of a general manager for whom I have great respect, Don Maloney. He’s been directly and actively involved in every facet of the general manager’s job,” Burke said
“He has a keen mind and a reputation as an extremely hard worker. It’s my job to provide Brad with whatever guidance and leadership I can.”
The team made the playoffs in each of their four seasons without an owner before failing to reach the post-season the past two seasons. Treliving’s duties also included managing the professional and amateur scouting staffs and making player personnel assignments to the team’s minor-league affiliates.
Treliving, who played in the International Hockey League, AHL and ECHL, is the son of Boston Pizza co-owner Jim Treliving.