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Brian Leetch, Patrick Burke to join NHL Department of Player Safety

The NHL Department of Player Safety has hired Brian Leetch and Patrick Burke.

Jim McIsaac

The NHL received criticism from the Canadian Medical Association on Wednesday concerning player safety. On Thursday, the NHL made a player safety related move, albeit one that doesn't necessarily align with the recommendations of the CMA.

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced that Brian Leetch and Patrick Burke have been hired to positions within the department.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post was first to report that Brian Leetch had accepted the position. Brooks writes that Leetch will be replacing Rob Blake who accepted the assistant general manager position with the Los Angeles Kings earlier this offseason. Blake was assumed to be next inline to take over as department head if Brendan Shanahan ever stepped down from the position.

Leetch had been doing television work for MSG and was rumored as a candidate for Mark Messier's coaching staff if he was offered the vacant New York Rangers head coaching position. Alain Vigneault was ultimately given the job.

Burke had previously worked as a pro and amateur scout with the Philadelphia Flyers. He eventually went on to found the You Can Play Project, which advocates equal rights regardless of sexual orientation. Burke acted as the Executive Director of You Can Play from its founding in March 2012 until Aug. 20 when he stepped down. He still remains the president of the organization.

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