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Burke to remain Ducks' general manager through completion of contract

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Burke to remain Ducks' general manager through completion of contract

The Canadian Press
By:

ANAHEIM, Calif. - When speculation about his future in Anaheim hit the West Coast media, Brian Burke knew it was time to set the record straight.

Burke put the widespread rumours to rest Wednesday, announcing he will remain as general manager and executive vice-president with the Anaheim Ducks through at least the 2008-09 season.

"I had a meeting scheduled with (Ducks chief executive officer Mike Schulman), and it was his feeling, and I have to agree, that the speculation about where I might be going or what I might be doing was probably adversely impacting our hockey club," Burke said Wednesday in a conference call.

"We agreed the best thing for the Ducks is to end this media speculation and focus on the remaining year of my contract."

Burke's four-year contract with the Ducks expires in 2009, and he and the team will continue working on a contract extension.

"We have had extensive discussions about a contract extension," said Burke. "This will give us a concrete timeframe to see if there was common ground for an extension."

Speculation about Burke's future ran rampant in recent weeks, amid rumours he would consider leaving the Ducks for GM vacancies in Toronto or Vancouver. The Canucks filled their void Wednesday with the hiring of former player agent Mike Gillis.

Burke realized he needed to address the situation when stories began popping up in a local newspaper.

"Until today, there was no speculation in our media," said Burke. "Today, (the Orange Country Register) contained stories about it, and now it's impacting in our marketplace.

"To me, this is a prudent way to deal with it."

Burke repeatedly said his first choice was to remain in California, though he wouldn't rule out the possibility of leaving the Ducks at some point.

That door was officially slammed shut Wednesday - at least, for the next 12 months.

"Brian Burke is the best general manager in the NHL and we always expected him to return," said Ducks owner Henry Samueli. "Our goal is to sign him to a long-term agreement beyond next season."

Burke led the Ducks to the 2007 Stanley Cup championship, the first-ever by a California-based team. Anaheim went 47-27-8 this season before losing in six games to the Dallas Stars in the first round of the playoffs.

Despite the early post-season exit, Burke reiterated his satisfaction with the franchise.

"I have a great gig here," said Burke. "These people are special. They've been absolutely wonderful to me and my wife, and we've put together a pretty special front-office staff and group of players.

"As I've said all along, there's never been an issue here professionally."

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Burke to remain Ducks' general manager through completion of contract