Brendan Shanhan’s appointment as president of the Toronto Maple Leafs was officially announced by the NHL team Friday morning.
Shanahan, 45, moves into a position vacant since Brian Burke was fired as both president and general manager of the Maple Leafs in January, 2013. The native of the Toronto suburb of Mimico will begin his duties immediately, according to a Leafs press release, after resigning as the NHL’s vice-president of hockey operations and player safety.
Team owner Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment announced Shanahan will be in charge of all team operations, which means the business side as well as the hockey operations. While nothing is certain in light of the Leafs’ ignominious slide out of the NHL playoffs, this could mean general manager David Nonis, who has four years left on his contract, will remain in his post, although Shanahan is expected to conduct a review of the Leafs from top to bottom.
Another indication Nonis will be retained is that he will be at Shanahan’s first formal appearance before the Toronto media on Monday morning along with MLSE president and chief executive officer Tim Leiweke. The MLSE statement Friday said no one from the team will comment until Monday.
Shanahan was hired in the wake of a second late-season collapse in three years. The Leafs went on an eight-game losing streak starting in March that wiped out its playoff hopes. The fact the team could not even pick up a loser point here and there for overtime or shootout losses to stay in contention plus its lack of effort revealed deep flaws in the overall character and personnel on the roster. That probably played a large role in Leiweke’s decision to hire Shanahan, who has no experience running an NHL team although he has worked as a league executive since he retired from a 22-year playing career in 2009.
It was Shanahan’s history as a winner that attracted Leiweke. He won three Stanley Cups while playing for the Detroit Red Wings and gold medals with Team Canada at the 1994 world championships, the 2002 Winter Olympics and the 1991 Canada Cup. Shanahan was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in July, 2013.