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The Cost of Favoritism: NHL Owner Refuses to Allow GM to Trade Favorite Player

I’m not going to tell you that this next story is about the Vancouver Canucks, but I’m also not going to tell you that it isn’t about the Canucks.

Rachel Doerrie of The Hockey News (THN), formerly of the front offices of the New Jersey Devils and the Vancouver Canucks, has written a column for THN that examines the case of the Philadelphia Flyers and their recent decision to rebuild their roster.

Doerrie explains in her column how NHL general managers frequently serve the interests of the team’s owner rather than the interests of the team itself. Again, I’m not claiming this is about the Canucks, but… read some of Doerrie’s column:

At the end of the day, the people who own the team chart the direction, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. In sports, owners rarely know much about the sport. They make their money in business and buy a team as a toy of sorts. Fans play Be a GM mode in NHL 23, owners play Be a GM mode with the actual franchise.

Some GMs are outright told how to operate, who to sign, who they can and cannot trade. I’ve seen and heard it all. There is one team who is not allowed to trade what equates to a B prospect because he had a great dinner with the owner in his draft year and is now the owner’s favorite player. Another team is not allowed to trade from a certain pool of prospects because that is how the owner believes the team should be run.

Another team is not allowed to rebuild because the owner is worried fans may not show up for two years…not realizing that if you have a sustainably competitive team, you can make longer playoff runs, where tickets are more expensive, and the revenue is not shared.

– Rachel Doerrie

I’d be okay with reading an entire book about how shackled some of these GMs have been by their bosses.
We frequently hear about the interactions between general managers and coaches, but we rarely hear about the interactions between an owner and his general manager.

Fascinating to say the least.

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: iburdetskiy@hookedonhockey.com and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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