An accomplished executive whose career has been highlighted by winning a Stanley Cup and Olympic silver medal, Brian Burke’s (Edina, Minn.) passion and contributions to the betterment of the game of hockey have touched every level of the sport.
Burke was born in Providence, Rhode Island, but grew up in Minnesota and attended Edina High School where he was a standout on the hockey team. He returned to the East Coast and played college hockey for the Providence Friars, where he served as captain his senior season. Burke then played one full season in the AHL with the Maine Mariners, helping the team to a Calder Cup championship before hanging up his skates and attending Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1981.
He went on work as an NHL player agent before joining the Vancouver Canucks front office in 1987 for a five-year stint as director of hockey operations. Burke briefly served as general manager of the Hartford Whalers before joining the NHL office as executive vice president and director of hockey operations, where he worked for six seasons.
Burke's next stop was as general manager for the Vancouver Canucks, notably acquiring Hockey Hall of Fame players Daniel and Henrik Sedin during his tenure. He then moved on to serve as executive vice president of hockey operations and general manager of the Anaheim Ducks, where he oversaw the franchise winning its first-ever Stanley Cup championship in 2007.
Burke was tabbed as president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2010 before being hired three years later by the Calgary Flames as president of hockey operations, a role he also held for parts of three seasons (2020-23) with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Today, he serves as the first-ever executive director of the Professional Women’s Hockey League Players Association.
While his work in the NHL has been at the forefront, Burke has supported U.S. efforts on the international stage and was a driver in USA Hockey establishing the U.S. Men’s National Team Advisory Group in 2007 to assist with the selection of players and staff for top international events. Burke was an original member of the group and served with other U.S. general managers for nearly a decade.
As general manager of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, Burke was the lead architect in building a team that earned the silver medal. He also served as director of player personnel for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team and had management roles for U.S. Men’s National Teams for the 2009 and 2010 IIHF Men’s World Championships and 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Burke has also worked in broadcasting during his career, including as an analyst for both Rogers and Sportsnet.
A strong supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, Burke established the You Can Play project that targets homophobia and promoting safety and inclusion in sports, in honor of his late son, Brendan.