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Craig Button Named New GM

D'Arcy McGrath

June 7th, 2000

The definition of organization is as follows: Something made up of elements with varied functions that contribute to the whole and to collective functions. Along the same lines the very same dictionary describes the term team as: A group on the same side

Which brings us to the Flames announcement of a new general manager, Craig Button, on Tuesday.

The theme to the Flames news conference was teamwork, and returning to the success the franchise once enjoyed.

The Flames of the last regime had elements in Al Coates, Brian Sutter, Nick Polano and Ron Bremner, but hadn't mastered the "contribute to the whole" part of the package.

In the modern NHL, a general manager can no longer be a cigar smoking, good old boy with great connections. That's part of it of course, it's still a "who you know" as well as a "what you know" business, but the job has become much more complex.

In searching for a GM, NHL teams can go one of two ways.

Search for a superman, a candidate that has contacts, knows scouting, is versed in all the legal jargon that makes up the Collective Bargaining Agreement, can market the game, looks good, plays great golf, and has the inside track to the boys club that makes up the NHL GM brethren.

The other, and much more affordable way for small market teams like Calgary is to pick the attribute most important to your situation and hire on that attribute. That's what the Flames did Tuesday.

This isn't to say that Craig Button doesn't know his way around board rooms, or golf courses, but his bread and butter is drafting and nurturing young talent. Young talent has to be the backbone of teams with limited financial resources like Calgary.

Add in the fact that Button comes from a proven winning organization, and one can conclude he has seen how a winning tradition is achieved and fostered, and can apply a similar (though more economic) plan in Calgary.

For his part, Button wanted none of the "small market" tag. "You won't hear small market out of my mouth", Button stated at the Saddledome news conference."Each team has to operate under the parameters of their situation, there will be no excuses. I wouldn't be here if I thought I couldn't be successful."

With the announcement today the Flames new organization is taking shape. Ron Bremner as president, Craig Button as vice-president and general manager, with other appointments to follow.

Missing from the podium was Lanny McDonald, who has been widely speculated to be in line for a promotion to VP of Hockey Operations. Does Button's appointment to VP and GM titles eliminate that possibility?

"Today is Craig Button's day" McDonald told "And a great day for the Calgary Flames and it's fans. He comes from a hockey family, but has made a name for himself."

I think one can conclude from McDonald's comments that he will fill a role in the organization, but it is either undecided at this point or being left as an announcement for another day.