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Decision By Christmas

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Brian Burke Presser | Brian Burke One-on-One

By Christmas, Brian Burke, 53 will let the hockey world know his plans.

Burke, considered by many to be the front-runner to succeed Cliff Fletcher as the Leafs GM, was in Toronto Tuesday as his 1-5 Ducks prepared to face the Maple Leafs.

Burke clarified his position to a roomful of media. He remains under contract to the Ducks and said his employer’s wish to see him fulfill his contract was anything but unusual.

“I signed a four-year deal. For someone to insist you honour the fourth year of a four-year deal is hardly being unreasonable in my opinion. I think they’re entitled to that. If a player came to me and said ‘I know I signed a four year-deal but I would like to get out of the fourth year,’ it would be a very short, profanity-laced conversation.”

Burke re-iterated that his issue was altogether personal and not professional.

“There are family issues involved. I have four children from my first family who all live in the East Coast. I travel back two weekends every month to see them. I’ve been doing that since I went to work in Vancouver in 1998. It’s a very difficult schedule. I have two little ones in California and I don’t see either group enough. That’s the principal concern."

“The other is my wife’s situation. She is a very accomplished broadcaster and can’t really work in California. We’re trying to balance those things. There are no issues with the job.”

Burke has another contract offer from the Ducks on the table and confirmed a decision by Christmas.

“It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. That’s why it’s taken so long,” he said.

“I think our owners are entitled to an answer. The hold-up here is all on my end. I’m wrestling with a very difficult decision. I usually make decisions easily and quickly.”

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