Former AGM Chris Gear reflects on his time with the Canucks, the Sedins, negotiating contracts, and more
10 months ago
Like many, former Vancouver Canucks assistant general manager Chris Gear spent time with family over the holidays.
The former Canucks contract aficionado flew back east to visit his parents and sister’s family after he was let go by the Canucks.
But now, Gear is getting back to work — as he says — joining “the dark side” of the media side of the game.
Gear joined Chris Faber, Harman Dayal, and I on episode 231 of Canucks Conversation, which you can listen to by clicking here.
We touched on a number of topics — from Gear’s collegiate football career with Queen’s University to what it was like being in the Canucks’ front office during the 2011 cup run — but these are the highlights.
First of all, we asked Gear the question that has long been a running joke among Canucks fans: What did former AGM John Weisbrod actually do for the club?
Gear, who played a key role in multiple recent contracts dolled out by the Canucks, including those of Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, Thatcher Demko, and Conor Garland, talked about what it’s like to go through negotiations with star players.
“As a lawyer and having worked as a lawyer for so many years, you work on contracts that are really lengthy stuff,” said Gear. “Like, let’s take the Rogers naming rights agreement. That’s a lengthy agreement with lots of provisions and every word is almost individually negotiated. And then on NHL player contracts, there’s a standard player contract that is part of the CBA… Really all you’re negotiating is term and money.
“You’re looking at comparables around the league and trying to find out where your players should fit in in the realm of those comparables. And when you have the big star players, there’s a lot of money at stake. And so both sides are usually pretty cautious and want to get it right, so sometimes those can take a long time. And there’s protracted negotiations, because everybody’s cautious and often looking to see if there are comparable players that haven’t signed yet that are in the same category. Maybe you want to wait and see what happens with those players, or maybe you want to get out ahead of it. So there’s a strategy when you try to get the deals done, but sometimes that’s not in your control either, because maybe the agents are waiting for deals to get done.”
Gear also spoke about the Sedin twins, who are new to the management side. When asked if he could see them emerging as potential general managers down the road, he said:
“Yeah, for sure I do. I mean, those are two incredible people. High character, highly intelligent, humble, collaborative — they have all the tools that would be necessary for them to succeed. They obviously spent the part of this year when I was there, trying to absorb and learn. They would ask the right questions, they would contribute when they had opinions — they weren’t shy about doing that. But mostly you could tell that they were humble enough to know, you know, what they knew and what they didn’t know and that they wanted to learn and grow as executives and I think the sky’s the limit for those guys if they want to do it.”
Among other things, Gear also talked about the behind-the-scenes process in bringing the Canucks’ farm team to Abbotsford to Utica, and what kind of things are taken into consideration before an organization makes a move that significant.
We also asked him about his college football career. Here he is scoring a touchdown and dancing as a result.
Ultimately, Gear is proud of his time with the Canucks and has no hard feelings for the organization as a whole.
“I’m proud of a lot,” said Gear. “But I think just the way that I treated people, the way that I conducted myself, I tried to be honest, fair and hardworking… That’s what I’m most proud of I think — the legacy I left with the people I worked with, the people I worked against, the people that I had anything to do with.”
“A lot of great moments, a lot of accomplishments and agreements that were signed on. The RFA deals with the Canucks’ core right now but also business deals and sponsorship agreements and intellectual property rights. There’s lots of things that I was able to do that I feel really good about. Again, definitely no regrets, and no hard feelings. It was a great period of my life. And now, Daily Faceoff gives me a little bit of dipping my toe into another arena, and we’ll see how media goes for me. If media is not the answer, then hopefully, the next thing comes along for me, but it’s been a great ride.”
You can read Chris Gear’s first article for Daily Faceoff by clicking here, and listen to our full exclusive interview with him by clicking here.
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