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Penguins hire Brian Burke as President of Hockey Ops, Ron Hextall as GM

Well, that’s a big, bold move

2017 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins have gone big in their efforts to revamp their front office to replace Jim Rutherford. Like, really big.

Brian Burke has been the general manager of Hartford, Vancouver, Anaheim, Toronto, and most recently, Calgary. Burke also served as the Flames President of Hockey Operations from 2013-18.

Why would the Penguins be thinking about adding two senior members to their hockey operations and management? Greg Wyshynski shed some light on the rational of what the Pens are trying to accomplish.

Burke, 65, has never not been accused of having bold visions and being willing to go out and make it happen. Burke won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007.

And here’s the official announcement from the team:

In their new roles, Hextall will oversee the Penguins’ day-to-day hockey operations, reporting to Burke as his primary advisor. Burke will report to David Morehouse, the team’s president and CEO.

“We feel incredibly lucky to bring in two highly-respected executives with a combined 50-plus years of NHL management experience,” Morehouse said. “Ron and Brian are well-known in the hockey world as fierce competitors with championship pedigrees. They’re very well-connected and experienced in all aspects of the game. They are both excited to get to work here in Pittsburgh, blending their skills and building on our long tradition of success.”

Hextall, 56, an elite NHL goaltender in his playing days, has been in NHL management for more than twenty years, including a four-year stint as GM of the Phildelphia Flyers from 2014-2018. He also was assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Kings from 2006-2013, helping the Kings to their first Stanley Cup in 2012. He began his post-playing career as a scout for the Flyers in 1999.

Burke, 65, a Harvard Law School graduate, has spent 31 years as an NHL executive and won the Stanley Cup as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks in 2006-07. He also served as general manager of the Hartford Whalers and the Canucks; president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs; and president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames. From 1993-98 he was executive vice president and director of hockey operations for the NHL, working closely with commissioner Gary Bettman.

Patrik Allvin, who became interim GM of the Penguins when Jim Rutherford resigned on January 27, will resume his role as assistant general manager under Hextall and Burke.

“It’s an honor to be joining the Pittsburgh Penguins - an organization well-known for its excellence on and off the ice,” Hextall said. “I look forward to working with ownership, Brian and the entire organization toward the ultimate goal of bringing another Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh.”


“To me, Pittsburgh is a take-your-breath-away destination for any GM or president of hockey ops,” Burke said. “I’m so excited for the opportunity. The Penguins are a storied franchise with outstanding ownership in Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, and Pittsburgh is just a great hockey city. Ron Hextall and I are very fortunate. We can’t wait to get started.”

The Penguins: never uninteresting.