Former Vancouver captain Trevor Linden was named the Canucks' President of Hockey Operations and Alternate Governor on Wednesday, 26 years after the team selected him in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.
The hiring comes a day after Mike Gillis was dismissed as the team's General Manager. In his new position, Linden will be responsible for "all hockey operations, including the coaching and scouting staffs, player procurement and development, and minor league affiliations and operations," according to a statement on the team's website Wednesday.
In the statement, Linden, who turns 44 on Friday, called the news on Wednesday a "real honor" as he begins working toward bringing the club its first Stanley Cup in franchise history:
“Today is a real honor. 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. I’m passionate about the Canucks and I want to win – just like our fans. 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.”
Linden holds franchise playoff records with the Canucks for most games played, goals, assists and points. While he doesn't have any true front-office experience, he did serve as president of the National Hockey League Players’ Association for eight years, beginning in 1998. He also has experience in commercial and real estate developments and a line of fitness clubs on his post-hockey résumé, and team owner Francesco Aquilini alluded to Linden's variety of experiences in a statement on Wednesday:
“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.”
Linden had his No. 16 retired by the Canucks when he called it a career in 2008, becoming just the second player in team history -- Stan Smyl's No. 12 was first -- to be honored with that recognition. He would be followed in later years by fellow Canuck greats Markus Naslund (No. 19) and Pavel Bure (No. 10).MUIR: Top Line: Mike Gillis firing fallout; Alex Ovechkin breaks a puck; more links