Burke Named 2010 U.S. Olympic Team GM
Anaheim Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Brian Burke to lead U.S. Hockey Team at 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver
|"I'm very grateful and honored to be part of the U.S. Olympic Team," Burke said. "We hope to put a team together for 2010 that Americans can be proud of."|
Anaheim Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Brian Burke was named the General Manager of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team on Friday by USA Hockey. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games are scheduled to take place between February 12-28, 2010 in
“I’m very grateful and honored to be part of the U.S. Olympic Team,” said Burke, whose previous international experience include serving as General Manager of the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 1993 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship in
Ranked as the No. 1 General Manager in the NHL in The Hockey News’ Annual GM Rankings (March 2008), Burke led the Ducks to a Stanley Cup championship in 2007, the first-ever by a California-based club. Including a run to the 2006 Western Conference Finals, Burke has helped guide the Ducks to six series wins in the last three years, tied with
“We could not be more pleased than to have Brian as our General Manager,” said Ron DeGregorio, President of USA Hockey. “His record of accomplishment speaks for itself. Brian’s drive and fire for the game rub off on you and it’s that type of passion that will help lead us to our ultimate goal of winning the gold medal.”
Named Anaheim’s Executive Vice President/General Manager on June 20, 2005, Burke has seen his club post an overall record of 138-74-34 (.630 winning percentage) in his three seasons in Anaheim. The 2007-08 Ducks went 47-27-8 for 102 points, finishing fourth in the Western Conference. The team set club records for fewest goals allowed (184) and most home wins (28). The Ducks were the first team since the 2003-04 New Jersey Devils to record over 100 points the year following a Stanley Cup Final appearance.
Prior to joining the Ducks, Burke was President and General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks from 1998-2004. Under his leadership, the Canucks increased their point total for four straight seasons from 1999-2003, including consecutive 100+ point campaigns and a 2004 Northwest Division title. Between
Born in New England and raised in
Burke spoke with reporters Friday afternoon via conference call. The following is a transcript:
On being named the General Manager of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team:
To get that phone call is one of the greatest thrills of my life. I was never good enough (as a player). International competition really developed after I had pretty well retired, as far as World Juniors and some of the other tournament they have now, but I wasn't good enough that I would have been selected anyhow. Having not been a gifted enough player to represent the United States internationally, this is a great thrill to be able to do it at the management level. I was thrilled, honored, proud, flattered, grateful, all of the above.
I didn't start playing hockey until I was 13 years old. I moved to Minnesota when I was 12. Even though I never played in the National Hockey League, I'm very proud of getting as far as I got. To start at age 13 and for your sixth year of organized hockey to be in Division I college hockey and then to play in the American League, I'm very proud of that. I worked my tail off, but I got there because I had some great coaches. USA Hockey enabled me to get there. I feel a tremendous debt. I think when your country asks you to represent it, you go. You don't ask when or where. You don't ask any questions. You get on the plane. To me, it's a great thrill. It really is. In 1992, I was a rookie GM at Hartford and USA Hockey asked me about being the GM for the World Championships that year and what I told Art Berglund, who was the guy that asked me, I said Art, I will fold towels if that's what you want me to do. That's how I feel about USA Hockey. I'm very excited about this.
On being named the USA GM in comparison to winning the Stanley Cup:
It's different. The Stanley Cup is special for every player, coach and manager who participates in it. It's such a difficult trophy to win. The building that goes into it, basically it was 24 months building for that moment in Anaheim. This is different, but comparable because as an American it's such a thrill. There's no nationalities written on the Stanley Cup. They just list the names. This is a chance to represent your country. I'm a proud American and this is thrilling in a different way.
On the challenge of being both the USA Olympic Team GM and the Ducks GM:
The year we won the Stanley Cup, I was involved putting together the team that went to the World Championships. Much of these duties dovetail with what you do, which is you're watching hockey, evaluating Americans. USA Hockey has an excellent staff that will help put the team together. (USA Hockey Assistant Executive Director, Hockey Operations) Jim Johannson in particular. (Nashville Predators Executive VP of Hockey Operations/GM) David Poile is going to be named the Associate General Manager today. Basically, David and I are going to start at the draft. We've both already done a ghost team of available players, who might be there. Hockey Canada has done it this way as well. The people that put the teams together are employed by NHL teams. That's there job. They're going around watching games and then they make recommendations out of the exsisting pool. I don't see it as a conflict at all and I think it's quite a feather for our organization.
On the coach of the USA Olympic Team:
There's been no committment made to a coach yet. The ones that are going to leap out will be (Carolina Hurricanes head coach) Peter Laviolette, who coached in Turin, Ron Wilson and (John) Tortorella. Those are the three most prominent names.
On when selections on coaches and players will be done:
What I told USA Hockey, other than David and I sitting down at the Draft, is this all now has to take a backseat until we get to the Draft. Then we'll work on the timeframe. We've got some time. In the past, the Players Association and the NHL have pushed to have as many players named as far in advance as possible for marketing purposes. As a General Manager, you'd like to name the team the day before to see who's hot and who's not. We'll get some timeframes from the NHL and the U.S. Olympic Committee. It might be 10 players by Labor Day of '09, six months in advance of the Olympics. I don't know what those requirements are yet.
On his expecatations of USA Hockey at the 2010 Games in Vancouver:
You're talking about the best on best. The best hockey playing countries in the world. It's a tall challenge. The Olympics is a very difficult tournament. The U.S. Olympic won a gold in 1960, won a gold in 1980, won a World Cup in '96, won a World Junior in 2004. The talent pool available to Team USA is deeper than its ever been. We have had more success. It used to be every 20 years we'd have a shot at something. Now, we're starting to make noise in tournaments with greater frequency. I think we have skill and depth at every skating position, skill and depth in goal and skill and depth behind the bench. We're not going there for any other reason than to try to win the whole thing.
On getting the USA Hockey roster younger:
That was part of the selection process for the World Championship team, the tournament team we just put together. There was a definite eye toward that. We basically turned a generational page on Team USA with one team. We've had a group of guys that carried USA Hockey in international play for the better part of 20 years. Guys like Roenick, Tkachuk, Guerin, Chelios, Amonte and Doug Weight. Every single tournament was the same 14-16 guys and I think it's important for USA Hockey moving forward to turn that page. That was part of the recent World Championships in Halifax and Quebec City was we had to move the next generation into positions of authority. That, I think, was the most important part of this past tournament, was we turned that generational page. Now, these guys have another year to improve and hopefully make our team in 2010.
On the 2010 Olympics being a possiblity as the last one with NHL players involved and playing the Games in Canada:
It could well be (the last with NHL players), so it could have historic significance and I'm accutely aware of that. It's trying to win a title on Canadian soil and I'm accutely aware of that. I was at the Olympics in Calgary in 1988. It was bedlam. It's going to be bedlam in Vancouver. As hard as those medals are to win period, taking a medal on Canadian soil, is going to be a challenge. It is probably going to be the last one the NHL guys play in. If the US team can go in there, like we did in '96 with the World Cup, go in and grab a title on Canadian soil, we did it right in Toronto, it was quite a thrill. Same challenge. It's harder to do on Canadian soil. They're the host team. They're going to have the better dressing room and the crowd behind them. It makes it harder, but there's nothing like a challenge.