The Toronto Maple Leafs confirmed the worst-kept secret in the NHL Friday, announcing that Brian Burke will be introduced as the team's new general manager at a Saturday afternoon press conference.
Financial terms were not released, but the contract is believed to be a six-year deal, including the remainder of this year, at roughly $3 million US per season.
Burke, 53, joined the Anaheim 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.
He left the Ducks on Nov. 12 after almost four years as GM. Anaheim offered him a lucrative and lengthy contract extension but supported his decision to leave.
Burke has four children on the East Coast from a previous marriage and travels back to see them two weekends a month, something he has done for 10 years.
"On behalf of the entire Anaheim Ducks family, we would once again like to thank Brian for his tremendous contributions over the last three-plus seasons," Anaheim CEO Michael Schulman said in a statement Friday. "Brian stated on many occasions his desire to be closer to his family, which we support.
"We congratulate and wish him the best of luck with the Maple Leafs."
Burke will become the 13th general manager in the Leafs' 92-year history, and will try to be the first man to lead Toronto to a Stanley Cup championship since 1967.
Burke has reportedly been on the radar of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment since before John Ferguson Jr. was fired as general manager in January. Cliff Fletcher has been serving as Toronto's GM since the firing but has said Burke would be "a great asset" to the organization.