The Vancouver Canucks have found their new president – one day after axing the old, still cold one.
On Wednesday, the Canucks announced that Trevor Linden will take over as the team’s President, Hockey Operations and Alternate Governor, NHL. Linden, who currently runs his Club 16 fitness chain, spent 16 years with the Canucks as a player. Drafted second overall (behind Mike Modano) in 1998, he captained the Canucks to a Stanley Cup Final in 1994 and retired as the club’s all-time leader in points. That record has since been broken by the club’s current captain, Henrik Sedin.
“Today is a real honour,” Linden said on Wednesday, in a press release on Canucks.com. “I came to Vancouver 26 years ago and I have never left. I love this city. It is my home and the Canucks have always been part of my family.”
(That second sentence is partially untrue, of course, because Linden was traded to the New York Islanders in 1998 in a deal that brought Vancouver Todd Bertuzzi and Bryan McCabe. Linden also played for the Montreal Canadiens and the Washington Capitals before he was traded back to Vancouver in 2001.)
“I’m passionate about the Canucks and I want to win – just like our fans,” Linden said today (press release). “I believe in this team and share the organization’s commitment to excellence on and off of the ice. I am looking forward to getting started – getting to know everyone in the organization, and working together to win the Stanley Cup for this great city and Province.”
Vancouver team owner Francesco Aquilini will hold a press conference today at 10:30 a.m., both to announce Linden’s hiring and to address yesterday’s firing of now-former general manager and president Mike Gillis.
Gillis was let go after six years as Vancouver’s GM, during which time the Canucks own five Northwest Division Titles, two President’s Trophies, and went to a Stanley Cup Final in 2011.
With the Canucks officially eliminated from playoff contention on Monday night against Anaheim, fans in Rogers Arena began chanting “Fire Gillis” from the stands.
The next day, Gillis was shown the door. It’s unclear yet who Vancouver’s next general manager will be, although that decision now rests at the feet of the team’s new president and its ownership.
“It’s my honor to officially welcome Trevor Linden home in his new role as President of Hockey Operations for the Canucks,” said Francesco Aquilini, chairman of Canucks Sports & Entertainment, in the same release.
“We believe in Trevor’s leadership abilities. His 20 years of NHL experience including seven as team captain, his role as NHLPA President, community leader and businessman offers a very special skill set; one that will positively shape the direction of this club in the future.”