Leafs hire veteran hockey man Al Coates

The Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday announced the hiring of Al Coates as their player-personnel director.

Experienced adviser worked with Burke in Anaheim

The Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday announced the hiring of Al Coates as their player-personnel director.

Coates, 62, has nearly four decades of NHL experience and was with organizations that won Stanley Cups — Calgary in 1989 and last year with Anaheim.

He had been with the Ducks since 2003, most recently in the capacity of senior adviser to general manager Brian Burke.

"We look forward to Al becoming a valuable part of the Maple Leafs management team," said Toronto GM Cliff Fletcher in a statement.  "He brings a wealth of managerial and scouting expertise to our hockey club, which will be important as we look to strengthen the organization's depth in the coming seasons."

Coates is familiar to Calgary hockey fans, as he spent over two decades with the Flames in a variety of positions beginning in 1979. He spent about 11 years working for Fletcher before the latter departed for his first stint with Toronto.

Coates was Calgary's GM between 1995 and 2000 and made deals to acquire prospects Jarome Iginla and Robyn Regehr, now part of the foundation for the Flames. He began his NHL career spending most of the 1970s working for the Detroit Red Wings.

Gord Kirke, head of Toronto's search committee for a general manager since John Ferguson Jr. was fired in January, said recently the goal was to find not only the right GM but several capable hockey men for the front office as well.

The hiring fuels the speculation that Burke will join Toronto when his contract expires in a year, or sooner.

Toronto was reportedly denied permission on more than one occasion to talk to Burke, currently under contract as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks. Burke played collegiate hockey with new Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson in the mid-1970s, but the pair have yet to work together in the NHL.