Even in the off season Brad Treliving is on.
The Flames GM invited me to his office for the latest installment of the Flames Up Close Podcast. Inside, a mini 'war room' if you will: a desk with stacks of organized paperwork, the phone ringing, the texts dinging, the TV on and being watched intensely.
All that amid photos and memories of his life.
With the NHL draft, expansion draft, awards, free agency and rookie camps around the corner, there is no off-season for Treliving.
There will be time in the weeks to come to talk about the future, about strategies, but today it's about the stories. Stories of the fraternity of NHL GMs: what kind of characters they are, who deals with who and what it was like to make his first deal as a rookie general manager with a veteran GM who was won plenty in this league.
Treliving, always candid, touches on what he loves about this job. Winning sure, but it's about building something. It's about the competitive juice and it's about seeing it through.
Now armed with a new multi-year contract in Calgary, the man they call Tree will get that chance to keep building here.
From there we shift into some stories of growing up. First, working the dish pit as a 13 year old at Boston Pizza, the chain his father Jim started years ago. From there it was a promotion to pizza delivery guy, sadly prior to the invention of GPS. As Treliving points out, one trait a delivery guy should have is a sense of direction. He has none. That career did not last long.
When Treliving was in junior there were plenty of tough guys in the WHL, and one night this season over dinner, we ran into one: Jim McKenzie, a real tough guy in junior and the pros. The two reminisced and laughed. Afterwards, Treliving joked about how he hoped he'd break his arm in warm-up or get in a fender bender so he wouldn't have to face McKenzie back in the day.
Colourful. Articulate. And engaging. The stories could go on and on.
Unfortunately we had to cut it a bit short. The Flames GM had a call.
He had to get back to work.