Leafs’ former GM Burke returns to Anaheim

Former Leafs general manager Brian Burke is returning to the Ducks in California.

Burke, who was fired in January 2013, was kept on in an advisory role to the Toronto club, but will now return to the Anaheim Ducks as a part-time scout.

In a statement published Thursday morning on the Anaheim Ducks website, Ducks’ general manager Bob Murray spoke of past success Burke had with the team.

“Anytime you can add a person of his quality to your staff, it makes your organization better. We’ve had success working together before and look forward to doing it again,” Murray said.

Burke served as the Ducks’ GM and executive vice-president from 2005-2008. In that time the Ducks won the franchise’s first Stanley Cup, in 2007, and made the playoffs in all three of his seasons, winning six of eight playoff series.

Burke, 57, was brought to Toronto in November of 2008, hoping he could bring his success to the Leafs. However the team did not reach the playoffs during his tenure.

He was fired on January 9, 2013.

Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment also released a statement Thursday. In it, president Tom Anselmi revealed the move came after the Ducks approached the Leafs about Burke’s service.

“We both agreed that taking this role with Anaheim would best position Brian for his next general manager opportunity in the league,” Anselmi said via the MLSE website, adding that Anaheim asked for permission to speak with Burke about a possible scouting role.

Burke’s remaining advisory contract with MLSE was terminated, effective Thursday.

The news prompted much debate on social media with “TerryQ” on the Globe and Mail website believing the move might be Burke trying to get back into the GM’s chair.

“If I was [Bob] Murray I would watch my back with him around,” he posted Thursday, referring to the Duck’s current GM. Other fans took to Facebook to express their appreciation of Burke.

On the Leafs Facebook page Andrew Mann thanked Burke for his work within the community.

“Mr. Burke thanks for all you did for the Leafs and more so for supporting the community. am unhappy that your goals were not reached but even more so that you couldn’t have the time or space to accomplish them. You are always welcome in Toronto. Cheers.”

Fans in Anaheim had mixed feeling about Burke’s return, after his sudden departure from the club in 2008.

“This is the guy responsible for [Ryan] Getzy, [Corey] Perry, and [Bobby] Ryan on our team this move is quite good in my opinion…the guy knows talent maybe he’ll steal [Joffrey] lupul back for us hahaha,” Andrew Boydston posted on the Ducks’ fan Facebook page.