Canucks fans may remember former general manager Mike Gillis well. He served as Dave Nonis’ heir to the throne in the late 2000’s, helping the team through their last phase of greatness but ultimately losing his job with the club in the spring of 2014.
The last time we checked in on Gillis, he had moved away from hockey and become a university professor. Now, though, he’s working his way back into hockey – just doing so overseas.
It was reported this week that Gillis will join Geneve-Servette HC of the Swiss-A league as a member of the team’s board of directors. His former assistant general manager, Lorne Henning, along with lawyer Peter Gall, will help make up the directorial board with the polarizing former figurehead.
“We all share the same vision,” said Geneve-Servette owner Hugh Quennec.
“We want to develop the role of the club in this community, promote the emergence of young talents, participate in the development of hockey in Switzerland and build a new rink which will be a place of reference for the region.”
Gillis’ tenure with the Canucks is hard to measure, particularly when compared with the current regime in place.
In some ways, the former GM dug his own grave with the club, helping to sign deals like the infamous Roberto Luongo contract and being unabashedly non-apologetic about it. He and the club were involved in a fair amount of toxicity off the ice, as well, with the Maple Leafs controversy that transpired early in his tenure. Not everyone loved the contracts he signed – and while he managed to help the Canucks reach their last Stanley Cup Final in 2011, the changing of the guard in 2014 seemed somewhat expected at the time.
That being said, though, some miss Gillis by this point in the team’s current storyline. It’s hard to tell exactly how many of his blunders were truly his own and how many were related to ownership – the rampant speculation about Canucks ownership involvement is as heated as it is hard to truly determine merit in – so seeing him take on what could be a successful job elsewhere in the hockey community is something that’s hard to fault him for. We wish him the best in Switzerland.