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Former NHL exec Brian Burke to speak at Timberwolves Legacy Night

Brian Burke will help commemorate the 10th year of the UNBC Timberwolves Legacy Night.
PGC brian burke
Brian Burke will be the keynote speaker at the UNBC Timberwolves Legacy Night in November.

Brian Burke will be the keynote speaker during the UNBC Timberwolves Legacy Night on Nov. 21 at the Civic Centre.

Burke is a Stanley Cup champion, a best-selling author, television personality, community activist and long-time hockey executive at the National Hockey League, Professional Women’s Hockey League and international level.

“Every year the bar for UNBC’s Legacy Night is raised higher thanks to the incredible outpouring of support from our community, and this year will be no different,” said Loralyn Murdoch, UNBC director of athletics and recreation. “Brian Burke is one of hockey’s most inspiring and influential people, and we’re thrilled to welcome him to the University of Northern British Columbia and to have him participate with us for our 10th Legacy Night.”

After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1981, Burke’s started his career as a player agent. In 1987, he joined the Vancouver Canucks' front office, working alongside the late Pat Quinn, before becoming the General Manager of the Hartford Whalers in 1992. After a five-year stint in the NHL head office, Burke became general manager of the Vancouver Canucks in 1998, and in 1999 he pulled off a series of trades which allowed the Vancouver Canucks to select both Daniel and Henrik Sedin with back-to-back picks.

His next GM stop was Anaheim, and in 2006-07 he guided the Ducks to their first (and only) Stanley Cup title. After capturing the Stanley Cup in Anaheim, Burke returned to Canada where he spent five seasons at the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs (2008-2013). From 2014-2018 he served as President of Hockey Operations with the Calgary Flames.

Most recently at the NHL level, Burke served as president of hockey operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2021-2023 before becoming the executive director of the Professional Women’s Hockey League Players Association.

Internationally, Burke has represented the United States in a management capacity six times, and in 2010 he won an Olympic silver medal as the general manager of Team USA (men’s hockey).

Burke and his family are strong supporters of 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Plus) rights. In 2012, he and his son Patrick launched the You Can Play project in honour of Brian Burke’s late son Brendan. The purpose of You Can Play is to eliminate homophobia in sports.

Previous Legacy Keynote speakers include:

  • Haley Wickenheiser
  • Pinball Clemons
  • Theo Fleury
  • Michael Landsberg
  • Jennifer Jones
  • Kady Dandeneau
  • Jon Cooper
  • Kaleb Dahlgren
  • Chantelle and Warren Grafton

Since its inception, the UNBC Legacy Night has helped raise more than $740,000 with 100 per cent of proceeds directly support scholarships and bursaries for UNBC student-athletes. 

Tickets for the event will go on sale Sept. 6.