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Brian P. Burke (born June 30, 1955 in Providence, Rhode Islandmarker) is an Americanmarker ice hockey executive, who is currently the President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the General Manager for the United States national men's ice hockey team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouvermarker.

Early life and playing career

Born in Providence, Rhode Islandmarker and raised in Edina, Minnesotamarker , Burke graduated from Providence Collegemarker in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. While attending Providence, he played for the Friars Division-I ice hockey team, where, during his senior year, he served as captain. The team was coached by Lou Lamoriello. In 1977, Burke played seven games with the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League (AHL). Burke then proceeded to play one full year in the AHL with the Maine Mariners, who won the AHL Calder Cup Championship that year. After one year in the AHL, Burke attended Harvard Law Schoolmarker, where he graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1981.

Executive career

Early career and GM of Hartford Whalers

After graduating, Burke became an NHL player agent. In 1987, he was hired by Pat Quinn, his coach with the Maine Mariners, to be the Director of Hockey Operations for the Vancouver Canucks. In the 1992–93 season, he left that job to become General Manager of the Hartford Whalers. He was fired after one year in Hartford, after which he was hired by the NHL to be vice-president in charge of discipline under league commissioner Gary Bettman.

Vancouver Canucks

In 1998, he became General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks. With the Canucks, he was credited with reviving the ailing franchise and increasing attendance, with the drafting and signing of several key players such as Daniel and Henrik Sedin, as the team won a playoff series and captured a division title. As Canucks GM, Burke played a key role in the end of Peter Zezel's career. The controversy began at the trade deadline late in the 1998–99 season. Zezel's niece Jilliann was terminally ill with cancer in Torontomarker, and Zezel requested a trade from the Canucks (who were far out of the playoff race) to an Eastern Conference team so he could be closer to his family. Instead, Burke dealt him to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, the furthest stop from Toronto in the league. Zezel promptly retired and returned home, and Canuck management were heavily criticized by a sympathetic media and public for the callous way Zezel was treated. Following the 2003–04 NHL season, Canucks ownership chose not to renew Burke's contract for the GM position. Burke then briefly worked as an analyst for NHL games on both the CBC and TSN. During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, he proposed a 15-point plan derived from his experience as an agent and general manager.

GM of the Anaheim Ducks

Burke won the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks as the GM in the 2006–07 NHL season. It was his second year as an executive with the club.

Burke stepped down as GM of the Anaheim Ducks on November 12, 2008. The Ducks management submitted papers to the NHL, releasing him from contractual commitment.

President and GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs

On November 29, 2008, Burke was introduced as the President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, replacing interim General Manager Cliff Fletcher. He became the 13th non-interim General Manager of the club and the first to be American-born. He reportedly agreed to a six-year deal worth $3 million annually. Soon thereafter, on December 4, 2008, Burke offered Dave Nonis the position of Senior Vice-President and Director of Hockey Operations for the Maple Leafs; Nonis accepted, marking the third time he has held this post under Burke; he had done so previously in Anaheim and Vancouver.

Burke's first off-season in Toronto was sparked by public comments in April 2009, stating he was scoping the possibility of acquiring the first overall pick from the New York Islanders to select John Tavares in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Islanders GM Garth Snow caught wind of the Burke's comments and publicy critizied him for unprofessionality. Unable to trade up from seventh overall, however, Burke selected Nazem Kadri of the London Knights. A microphone recording conducted by TSN during the Draft revealed a "private" discussion between Burke and Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray, with Burke asking Murray who he intended on drafting. After Murray revealed he too was interested in Kadri, Burke told him he was taking Kadri, as Toronto selected ahead of Ottawa in the first round.

Further in the 2009 off-season, Burke stocked up his defense core by trading Pavel Kubina to the Atlanta Thrashers for defenseman Garnet Exelby and signing free agents Mike Komisarek from the Montreal Canadiens and François Beauchemin from the Ducks. Burke also recruited the highly-touted 24-year-old Swedish goaltender Jonas Gustavsson from the Elitserien, signing him to a one-year deal after having been pursued by several other NHL teams. The signing of Gustavsson led to Justin Pogge being dealt to the Ducks for a conditional late-round draft pick. Burke had also signed college forwards Christian Hanson from Notre Dame and Tyler Bozak from the University of Denver earlier in April.

Burke's most significant off-season signing in 2009, however, came on September 18, sending the Maple Leafs' 2010 and 2011 first-round picks with a 2010 second-round pick to the Boston Bruins for center Phil Kessel. Kessel was a restricted free agent who could not come to terms with the Bruins. Upon trading for Kessel, Burke signed him to a five-year, $27 million deal.

The 2009–10 season began controversially for Burke with Canucks GM Mike Gillis filing tampering charges against Leafs management for two off-season incidents regarding potential transactions. The first occurred in late-June 2009, leading up to the free agency period, when Leafs coach Ron Wilson publicly declared the club's intentions on pursuing the Canucks' Sedin twins if they could not be re-signed by Gillis. Several months later, in September, a Leafs TV documentary covering the 2009 NHL Entry Draft featured a segment with Burke indicating that Gillis had pursued the Tampa Bay Lightning's second overall pick for a package consisting defenceman Kevin Bieksa, forward Alex Burrows and their first-round selection. The NHL fined Wilson US$10,000 for his part in tampering with the Sedins, while Burke and Leafs management were given a warning for the draft incident.

Personal life

A dual citizen of the United States and Canada, Burke is married to former Vancouver area newscaster Jennifer Mather. They have two daughters together. Burke also has four children from a previous marriage, including Patrick, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers. Burke is a strong supporter of gay rights and attended the 2009 Toronto Gay Pride Parade with his son Brendan, who is gay.


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