Trevor Linden, Canucks president: 'I want to win'
The former team captain gives his first press conference as Canucks' president
Trevor Linden, the new president of the Vancouver Canucks says he is ready to start rebuilding a championship team for the city.
Linden was named as the Canucks new president by the team owners on Wednesday morning, confirming rumours that had been circulating since former president and GM Mike Gillis was fired yesterday.
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"I'm young. passionate about the team and I want to win," Linden told reporters at Rogers Arena on Wednesday morning.
"At this time in my life, this is a great opportunity." he said.
Team owner Francesco Aquilini said Linden will be making all the decisions regarding the team.
"In his role, Linden will be responsible for all hockey operations, including the coaching and scouting staffs, player procurement and development, and minor league affiliations and operations."
“We believe in Trevor's leadership abilities. His 20 years of NHL experience including seven as team captain, his role as NHLPA President, community leader and businessman offers a very special skill set; one that will positively shape the direction of this club in the future" said Aquilini.
Linden had denied the rumours as recently as Tuesday morning on live television, but was clearly on board Wednesday morning.
“Today is a real honour. I came to Vancouver 26 years ago and I have never left. I love this city. It is my home and the Canucks have always been part of my family," he said.
"I believe in this team and share the organization’s commitment to excellence on and off of the ice. I am looking forward to getting started – getting to know everyone in the organization, and working together to win the Stanley Cup for this great city and province."
He also said he had called to apologise to Global Television host Steve Darling for lying to him the day before on live television, saying he did it out of respect for outgoing president Gillis, who had not yet been told he was fired.
"I had to do what I did," Linden said.
Linden, 43, was named captain of the Canucks at age 21, and lead the team to two Smythe Division titles in 1992 and 1993, and the Stanley Cup finals in 1994. In 1998 he was named president of the NHL Players Association where he remained for eight years.
He retired in 2008 and went on to open a chain of health clubs.
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Linden did not shed any more light on the future of coach John Tortorella, whose first year behind the bench has been rocky, saying he would take the time to evaluate all the options before making any changes.
"I need to get more into this with the coaching staff here," he said.
Nor did Linden shed any light on who would take over as the team's general manager, a spot that was also vacated by Gillis' departure.
He did say the search for a new GM is already underway, and he would like them to be in place before the draft in June.
There are rumours swirling about who might take the job, including former Canucks' captain Markus Naslund, who recently stepped down as the general manager of MoDo Hockey in Sweden,
Naslund denies rumours
But Naslund has no NHL experience as a GM and has denied the speculation.
Earlier this month Naslund told CBC Sports suggestions that he stepped down as GM at MoDo because he was heading to Vancouver were just rumours.
"This has nothing to do with anything in North America," he said. "This is a decision made here a little over a month ago, that I was not going to sign another deal. I'm ready to do something different."
"I can see why there is speculation. But there is nothing to the rumours."
When asked if he was called, would he be interested, he said:
"I don't know at this point. I had a couple of inquiries a year ago or so, but it made no sense for me or us as a family. I'm going to take some time...and see what I'd like to do. I'm not ruling out anything. I didn't take the job with MoDo with the NHL in mind. That was to help out an organization that was in rough shape."
Naslund wouldn't reveal which team or teams approached him — except that Vancouver did not.
Naslund is still the Canucks all-time leader in goals, with 346. He's third in points, fifth in games played and his number 19 was retired in 2010.
With files from Terry Donnelly