Brent Flahr addresses the media prior to the 2017 NHL entry draft. Photo courtesy official Minnesota Wild Twitter account @mnwild

Minnesota Wild interim GM a Comox Valley product

Brent Flahr, of Courtenay, steps in after team cuts ties with Chuck Fletcher

The Minnesota Wild have players from Canada, the US, Sweden, Finland and even Switzerland. But the man at the helm is from the Comox Valley.

When the Wild’s season ended last week, owner Craig Leipold informed general manager Chuck Fletcher that his contract would not be renewed.

The announcement came on the heels of the Wild’s first-round playoff exit, at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets.

Exit Fletcher, enter Brent Flahr.

The Courtenay-born and raised Flahr was named interim GM of the team Monday.

It’s a natural progression for Flahr, who has been with the Wild as their assistant GM since 2009.

“I’ve been Chuck’s right-hand man, sort of ‘second in command’ so this is the next step,” he said, adding that the announcement caught him off-guard.

“Obviously Chuck is a close friend of mine, we’ve worked together a long time, and anytime something like that happens, it’s tough, but it’s part of the business. Anytime you lose in the first round of the playoffs, or don’t make the playoffs … in today’s day and age, there’s expectations, and you have to meet them. The owners have the right to make changes as they see fit, and that’s what happened.”

Being named interim GM does not guarantee Flahr the position moving forward. He knows the process involved, and there are still decisions to be made on both sides – not only before Flahr is officially offered the job, but also before he accepts it.

“He [Leipold] spoke with me briefly the day Chuck was let go and I will speak with him again more formally and see where it goes,” said Flahr. “I know he’s speaking with other potential hires as well, and at the same time, I have to see where my best interests lie and give it all some thought as well.”

With the 2018 NHL entry draft slated for June 22-23, and free agency beginning July 1, there is little down time for the Wild organization.

“[Leipold] told me he wants something done sooner, rather than later, and this is a busy time of the year, with the draft and free agency – just getting your ducks in a row with signing contracts. So the sooner the better, just so you can have a game plan moving forward.”

Being an NHL general manager is a highly sought-after position.

“Everybody wants to be an NHL GM,” former Minnesota Wild forward Patrick O’Sullivan said on his radio show, The Power Play, this week.

Flahr is no different in that regard.

“Obviously the job is something I aspire to, and hopefully at the right time, it will happen, whether that’s now, or 10 years from now, we’ll see. I’m still a young guy in this game.”

Flahr has been working in the National Hockey League ever since graduating from Princeton University, in 1996. He captained the Tigers in his final season of university, which is also when he made his decision as to career direction.

“I realized then that there was not much call for 5-foot-10 defencemen in the NHL, so …”

Flahr went directly from Princeton to the Florida Panthers organization, where he spent six years (1996-2002) as a scout. (Fletcher was the assistant GM of the team throughout that tenure.)

Flahr moved west, to scout for the Anaheim Ducks for four seasons, before heading to the Ottawa Senators in 2007, as the director of hockey ops. He spent two years in the nation’s capital before joining the Wild organization.

Flahr is cognizant of the fact that a new general manager could leave him in a somewhat precarious situation.

“When changes are made, people do bring in their own people… but at the same time, I’ve been in the game long enough and I’ve done a pretty good job in a lot of roles, so I think I’m a good asset.

“I have a good relationship with the owners, and a good relationship with the staff, but at the same time, it’s a business. So if it doesn’t work out, I’m a big boy. I’ll be able to find work elsewhere.”

Hockey has been a part of Flahr’s life since childhood. He grew up playing minor hockey in the Comox Valley, while attending Courtenay Elementary, then Lake Trail. He spent one year at Vanier, before leaving the Comox Valley to play junior hockey in Bellingham, when the Ice Hawks were part of the BCHL.

He left Bellingham to go to Princeton University as an 18-year-old, in 1992.

His parents, Melanie and Harold, still reside in Courtenay.

Just Posted

Tarp structure on Warden Street to be removed

Property owner has 30 days to comply with the city’s request

SD28 reveals new school bus schedule; hits back at City Council

District says Board of Education did not make formal request to alter BC Transit schedule

BC SPCA launches Wildlife-in-Focus Photography Contest

Enter the 10th annual photography contest by September

Arraignment date set for local theft suspect

Earl Edward Roper has been in and out of court for Blackwater Road bust charges since January

One-woman show coming to Wells’ Sunset Theatre

The show will be performed on July 19 and Aug. 23, 2018

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Most Read