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Outgoing Ducks GM Brian Burke talks to reporters Wednesday. ((Danny Moloshok/Reuters))

Brian Burke is out as the general manager of the Anaheim Ducks.

Bob Murray, the NHL team's senior vice-president of hockey operations, will take over GM duties, the Ducks announced Wednesday.

Burke's departure stems from his reluctance to sign a contract extension beyond this season because of family issues.

"Late last week, Brian respectfully declined our contract extension and we decided to move forward on our previously discussed plan," said Ducks CEO Michael Schulman.

"Brian and I have been discussing his future with the Ducks for some time. Once he decided last week not to extend his contract, I decided Bob was the obvious successor and Brian agreed."

Burke said he didn't relish leaving the Ducks.

"This was the hardest decision I've ever had to make," he said. "I'm comforted that the team is in great hands with Bob and [assistant GM] David [McNab] in charge. I can't thank everyone enough for their understanding and patience as I wrestled with this decision."

Burke will stay on for now as a senior adviser, but Schulman indicated he'll be free to speak to other clubs in "a week or two," once the transition of the GM powers to Murray is complete.

Burke has been rumoured to be among the candidates for the Toronto Maple Leafs' GM job, which is currently held by Cliff Fletcher on an interim basis. But Burke deflected questions about whether he's eyeing a move to Toronto.

"I'm not going to answer any question about any possible destination," he said.

Burke, 52, joined the Ducks in June 2005 after a six-year stint as president and GM of the Vancouver Canucks, and helped build Anaheim's 2007 Stanley Cup championship team.

In June, he was selected to lead the United States' entry in the men's hockey competition at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Murray was hired by the Ducks shortly after Burke was named GM. The two men worked together in Vancouver prior to that.

On Wednesday evening, Murray revealed during an interview with Hockey Night in Canada Radio that Schulman first talked to him about possibly taking over for Burke on Sunday, but that he didn't even want to discuss it until he knew Burke had officially stepped down.

"As soon as Michael informed me of Brian's decision, I called Brian and asked for his blessing, and he not only gave me his blessing, but he helped me negotiate the contract.… He was very good about it and he's been wonderful to me," Murray told HINC Radio.

Murray said he was sad to see Burke step down, but that he understood his decision.

"I knew he's been agonizing over this decision for a long time. It's been a tough struggle. We have a wonderful ownership group here, a wonderful family. Things were good here, we've been successful," Murray said.

"His family comes first and he's been doing that West Coast-East Coast trip ever since he went to Vancouver back in the '90s."

Corrections

  • We originally reported at 1:30 p.m. ET that Brian Burke was fired as GM of the Anaheim Ducks. In fact, the Ducks didn't confirm until 3:30 p.m. that Burke was being replaced by Bob Murray.
    Oct 24, 2013 2:11 AM ET