In something of a mid-summer stunner, the Canucks announced that they’d mutually agreed with now former-team president Trevor Linden to part ways.
There had been rumours going back at least two years that Linden had been considering resigning from his position. The reasons therein vary. Some, like Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy, posited that former-head coach Willie Desjardins’ fate after year two with the Canucks was one such faultline — ownership wanted Desjardin gone, and Linden wasn’t having it. Another is that Linden found the pushback from the media and fans alike distasteful and concerns about his legacy lingered.
The Canucks hired Linden on April 9th, 2014, after a disastrous season that saw the Canucks finish near the bottom of the league. Linden, along with his associates, promised a quick turnaround and fought against the desire from some fans, and even media members, for a wholesale rebuild. Linden wouldn’t even use the ‘r’ word in public until the end of his third season with the team as president.
To Linden’s credit, he and his first, and only, hire as general manager, Jim Benning, delivered in year one. The team bounced back with a vengeance and secured a playoff spot. Since then, the Canucks’ star has plummeted. In the last three seasons, no team owes to a worse record. It’s been tough sledding, to say the least.
Trevor Linden leaves the organization to pursue different endeavors after serving four years as President, Hockey Operations where he oversaw all hockey operations areas, including coaching, scouting, player development, and minor league affiliations and operations. He also served as Alternate Governor, NHL.
There’s perhaps never been a player so universally liked as Linden was for his time with the Canucks, on the ice. A first-round, second-overall pick of the Canucks in 1988, Linden played 1140 games with Vancouver, in two separate stints spanning 1988-1998 and from 2001-2008.
As an executive, though, Linden isn’t quite so revered. And perhaps that’s why he’s stepping down from the role. It was a lot to ask of someone who didn’t have any prior front office experience in the NHL. And it appears that Linden is no longer up to the task.