One of the worst-kept secrets of the May long weekend was officially revealed on Tuesday afternoon. The Calgary Flames have officially promoted former-Flame, Craig Conroy, from Assistant General Manager to General Manager of the team.
Insiders around the team publicized the news on Friday afternoon and it was confirmed by the Flames in a press conference at noon on May 23rd.
Was This the Right Move?
With the trials and tribulations the Flames have had for the better part of a decade or so, who better to oversee the team than someone who has been through it with the Flaming C on his chest for nine years?
It was absolutely the right call for the Flames to put someone in that position that can help make this transition from Brad Treliving and Darryl Sutter a seamless one. Especially since Craig Conroy had two seasons played under Darryl Sutter’s coaching style back in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.
Conroy has been fully involved in the happenings of the Flames since his playing career ended with nine seasons under his belt as Assistant General Manager. He’s got a good idea of what’s been going on with this organization and what needs to change. Especially with the ambiguity from a good portion of the players in their exit interviews this year. With someone they already know in charge of the team, maybe you get some renewed buy in from some key players like Mikael Backlund and Elias Lindholm.
If the background with the team wasn’t enough of an intriguing strength Conroy brings to the position, he also has a good feel for the overall view of Calgary from the league’s standpoint. He said in his press conference on Tuesday,
"“I talk to agents, and we’re on a lot of players’ no-trade lists. I want to make it where we’re not on the no-trade lists, and that’s by bringing a culture of winning and fun. Players talk, and if you build that here, they’ll come. That starts this year, moving forward.”"
He sang Calgary’s praises as part of this availability repeating his unwavering passion for the city of Calgary and the Calgary Flames organization. This is someone who has seen the potential, the market, and the fanbase and knows how special it can be when this team is successful. He appears to be ready to do everything in his power to bring Calgary back to a winning organization and fully puts his belief behind bringing the Stanley Cup back to Calgary.
Next on the to-do list
Amid the other typical offseason to-do list items like this year’s Entry Draft, re-signings and new player signings, the Flames also have another large vacancy they will need to fill before training camps kick off. The position of Head Coach.
Darryl Sutter was relieved of his duties shortly after Brad Treliving and the Flames agreed to part ways. Since then, there has been a whirl of speculated replacements that have come up on Flames talk shows and from the fanbase on a variety of social media platforms. The most common name brought up has been their AHL affiliate Head Coach and AHL Coach of the year, Mitch Love.
Mitch Love lead the Calgary Wranglers to an incredible inaugural season that had them clinch the Pacific Division and League titles in the 2022-23 season. Unfortunately, their playoff run was cut short last week but you can’t help but think Love is sticking around the city to have some important conversations with the updated Flames personnel.
It’s already been an eventful offseason for the Flames just over a month in and there is still more to come. There will be more news to come in the upcoming weeks and months of the summer.