The Toronto Maple Leafs formally announced in a live press conference streamed on the team's official website Wednesday that general manager Brian Burke had been relieved of his duties.
Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment president and chief operating executive Tom Anselmi officially made the announcement, and in the process appointed senior vice president Dave Nonis as the 14th general manager in team history. Nonis' promotion is a permanent hire.
Anselmi said decision to fire Burke was one that had been discussed for several months and was made in order to change the leadership voice of the organization.
"I've spent a lot of time working closely with our board as they evaluated our organization and its people, and the long term direction of our teams," Anselmi said. "Part of that assessment involved taking a look at the Maple Leafs and our hockey organization. As a result of that, we decided to make a leadership change and move in a different direction for the general manager role."
Burke was informed of this decision on Wednesday morning and, according to Anselmi, understood ownership's decision. Burke will be retained as a senior advisor to the franchise. He did not speak at Wednesday's press conference.
Here are some of notable moments from the announcement:
* The decision was collectively discussed and determined by the entirety of the Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment ownership group.
* Nonis was informed of his hiring Wednesday morning. He had attended a Toronto Marlies game the night before with Burke.
* When asked about the timing, Anselmi said there is no good time to make such a decision and that it was one the ownership group had come to.
* With speculation running rampant that Burke's opinion of a potential Roberto Luongo deal played a factor in his firing, Anselmi flatly denied that it had any factor in the decision to relieve Burke as general manager.
* Nonis refused to discuss Luongo and stated that he has yet to communicate with other general managers.
* When asked about rebuilding, Anselmi stated that the ownership group wants to win now, and Nonis stated that he would look to continue building with what is currently in place rather than "gutting" the franchise.
* When asked about head coach Randy Carlyle, Nonis acknowledged his past relationship with the coach and stated that he had already talked to him. Carlyle was referenced as a coach who could help develop the club's young players.
* Whether it was a turn of phrase or not, Nonis stated that the team is thrilled to have Carlyle start the season with the team.
* Anselmi stated that Nonis will have full authority over the operations of the team.