Trevor Linden leaving role as president of Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks have announced that Trevor Linden, president of the team's hockey operations, is stepping down.
Few details were provided about what led up to the decision, but Linden wrote in a statement following the announcement that it was difficult.
"I love this city and this province, and I will always have a special relationship with this team and Canucks fans," he said Wednesday.
"I am going to step back from the spotlight for a while and enjoy the summer with my young family."
Linden said he's optimistic about the team's future, and that he's excited about its prospects.
"The club is as strong as it's been in years. Above it all, I can feel our fans' sense of hope again and I know the future for the Canucks is very bright," he said.
The Canucks said in a statement earlier in the day that the parting of ways was "amicable." The team said Linden is leaving to pursue different endeavours, but did not give specific information on his plans for the future.
As president, Linden oversaw all hockey operations areas including coaching, scouting and player development.
Managing Partner Francesco Aquilini thanked the former centre and right winger for the four years he helped lead the team.
"There aren't many individuals in sport more connected to a team and a community than Trevor is in Vancouver," Aquilini said in the statement.
"The Canucks are entering an exciting new era thanks in large part to Trevor's leadership and hard work. I thank Trevor for all of his accomplishments and I am confident that (General Manager) Jim Benning and his staff will continue that momentum in the months ahead."
Benning also thanked Linden, and said he'd enjoyed working with and learning from the president since 2014.
"We still have lots of work to do, but I am proud of what we have built together so far in Vancouver."
Despite rumours of Dean Lombadi being a strong candidate to join the club, Benning says ownership doesn't plan to fill the role of president just yet. He said Aquilini had told him that Benning will be in charge of running hockey operations for the team for now.
When asked whether Linden's decision was related to conflicts with others, the GM said he hadn't heard about anything specific.
"We'd all have ideas when we go into ownership meetings and run them through, but I didn't really know of any disagreements."
However, it appeared Linden and ownership had different ideas on how to run the team. The rift became apparent when Benning's contract was renewed, according to longtime journalist Tony Gallagher.
"I think when Jim signed his contract it came down (that) he was to report to the Aquilinis. It was pretty clear Trevor was being cut out of the mix, and I think that happened almost immediately," Gallagher said.
"The writing was then on the wall."
Head Coach Travis Green said Linden's departure has everyone questioning the motive for the decision.
"Everyone is surprised that it happened… We don't really know the specifics," he said during the call.
But the vision hasn't changed even with one of its leaders missing, and the rebuild will continue.
"We're still on the same page. There's no magic formula that anyone can put in front of you that says, 'You do this and you're guaranteed to have this.' But we all agree that the young players coming into the lineup will be very important," Green said.
Linden has a long history with the NHL. He played 19 seasons with the Canucks, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and Washington Capitals before moving to a position off the ice.
In that time, he recorded 867 points in 1,382 games.
He also established a foundation that partners with youth-focused development programs to help young people learn the value of integrity, hard work, responsibility and leadership. The registered charity raises funds and awareness for programs including local, grassroots initiatives in the cities he spent time in during his NHL career.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Christina Heydanus