Brent Flahr addresses the media prior to the 2017 NHL entry draft. Photo courtesy official Minnesota Wild Twitter account @mnwild

Brent Flahr addresses the media prior to the 2017 NHL entry draft. Photo courtesy official Minnesota Wild Twitter account @mnwild

Minnesota Wild interim GM a Comox Valley product

Brent Flahr, of Courtenay, steps in after team cuts ties with Chuck Fletcher

The Minnesota Wild have players from Canada, the US, Sweden, Finland and even Switzerland. But the man at the helm is from the Comox Valley.

When the Wild’s season ended last week, owner Craig Leipold informed general manager Chuck Fletcher that his contract would not be renewed.

The announcement came on the heels of the Wild’s first-round playoff exit, at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets.

Exit Fletcher, enter Brent Flahr.

The Courtenay-born and raised Flahr was named interim GM of the team Monday.

It’s a natural progression for Flahr, who has been with the Wild as their assistant GM since 2009.

“I’ve been Chuck’s right-hand man, sort of ‘second in command’ so this is the next step,” he said, adding that the announcement caught him off-guard.

“Obviously Chuck is a close friend of mine, we’ve worked together a long time, and anytime something like that happens, it’s tough, but it’s part of the business. Anytime you lose in the first round of the playoffs, or don’t make the playoffs … in today’s day and age, there’s expectations, and you have to meet them. The owners have the right to make changes as they see fit, and that’s what happened.”

Being named interim GM does not guarantee Flahr the position moving forward. He knows the process involved, and there are still decisions to be made on both sides – not only before Flahr is officially offered the job, but also before he accepts it.

“He [Leipold] spoke with me briefly the day Chuck was let go and I will speak with him again more formally and see where it goes,” said Flahr. “I know he’s speaking with other potential hires as well, and at the same time, I have to see where my best interests lie and give it all some thought as well.”

With the 2018 NHL entry draft slated for June 22-23, and free agency beginning July 1, there is little down time for the Wild organization.

“[Leipold] told me he wants something done sooner, rather than later, and this is a busy time of the year, with the draft and free agency – just getting your ducks in a row with signing contracts. So the sooner the better, just so you can have a game plan moving forward.”

Being an NHL general manager is a highly sought-after position.

“Everybody wants to be an NHL GM,” former Minnesota Wild forward Patrick O’Sullivan said on his radio show, The Power Play, this week.

Flahr is no different in that regard.

“Obviously the job is something I aspire to, and hopefully at the right time, it will happen, whether that’s now, or 10 years from now, we’ll see. I’m still a young guy in this game.”

Flahr has been working in the National Hockey League ever since graduating from Princeton University, in 1996. He captained the Tigers in his final season of university, which is also when he made his decision as to career direction.

“I realized then that there was not much call for 5-foot-10 defencemen in the NHL, so …”

Flahr went directly from Princeton to the Florida Panthers organization, where he spent six years (1996-2002) as a scout. (Fletcher was the assistant GM of the team throughout that tenure.)

Flahr moved west, to scout for the Anaheim Ducks for four seasons, before heading to the Ottawa Senators in 2007, as the director of hockey ops. He spent two years in the nation’s capital before joining the Wild organization.

Flahr is cognizant of the fact that a new general manager could leave him in a somewhat precarious situation.

“When changes are made, people do bring in their own people… but at the same time, I’ve been in the game long enough and I’ve done a pretty good job in a lot of roles, so I think I’m a good asset.

“I have a good relationship with the owners, and a good relationship with the staff, but at the same time, it’s a business. So if it doesn’t work out, I’m a big boy. I’ll be able to find work elsewhere.”

Hockey has been a part of Flahr’s life since childhood. He grew up playing minor hockey in the Comox Valley, while attending Courtenay Elementary, then Lake Trail. He spent one year at Vanier, before leaving the Comox Valley to play junior hockey in Bellingham, when the Ice Hawks were part of the BCHL.

He left Bellingham to go to Princeton University as an 18-year-old, in 1992.

His parents, Melanie and Harold, still reside in Courtenay.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

District of Sparwood gateway banner. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Sparwood starts to envision new multi-purpose facility for district

The district is exploring options for a new facility in the district following community consultation

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

(File Photo)
WATCH: Cranbrook RCMP looking for driver after near miss between SUV, school bus

(Video courtesy Cranbrook RCMP) Cranbrook RCMP are looking for the driver of… Continue reading

Leith Olafson being congratulated by Jerry Bancks. Photo submitted
Selkirk Sports School wraps up season

A very different year due to COVID-19

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Most Read