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Burke advances into new role with Coyotes

by Emily Kaplan /
When Sean Burke retired as an NHL goaltender nearly four years ago, he knew he wanted to stay involved in the game -- and figured someday, maybe he could be a general manager.

So in 2008, Burke became the Coyotes' Director of Prospect Development. As a part of Phoenix's management staff, he began to see the ins and outs of what it takes to run a team. Shortly after, General Manager Don Maloney asked the former All-Star to become the team's goaltender coach. Burke accepted the opportunity, and cherished the chance to mentor some of the rising goaltenders in the League.

A couple months ago, Maloney asked Burke if he would like to become the team's Director of Player Development on top of his role as goaltender coach.

Burke happily accepted. It was the perfect situation.

"I was heading toward management when I first retired, that's what I wanted to direct my attention to," Burke told "Coaching worked out for a couple years, and I'm going to do it again next year, but this new position gives me an opportunity to learn the management side of the game, and I'm really excited to get started with that."

In his new role, Burke will be responsible for all offseason amateur player development, including overseeing the Coyotes development camp -- which occurred last week in Glendale -- and monitoring amateur player development during the season.

"A lot of my responsibility will be keeping a good eye on young players," Burke said. "And making sure that everyone's on the same page in developing our young players."

According to Maloney, there's nobody better for the job.

"Sean has great knowledge of the game, outstanding communication skills and untapped potential," Maloney said in a statement last week announcing Burke's promotion.

Burke, who is not even four years removed from his last NHL game, said he's happy with where his career is heading -- though he was quick to say he's not on the fast track.

"I don't know if you could really say my career has taken off," Burke said. "I kind of just taken on as much as I've wanted to until now."

That's because after Burke retired, he put a focus on spending time with his family. He coached his son's hockey team and was there for his daughter as she went through high school.

Now, Burke's son is off to junior hockey and his daughter will attend Arizona State University in the fall.

"I'm really not on the fast track or had any intention of being on the fast track. I just want to be involved in the game," Burke said. "But now both of them are moving to their own things, it gives me more opportunity to become more involved."

As for staying with the Coyotes -- well, that was an easy choice.

Burke, who had an 18-year NHL career, spent parts of five seasons with the Coyotes from 1999-204. He is the Coyotes' career leader in goals-against average (2.39) and ranks second in save percentage (.919).

"My kids grew up in Arizona and I was going to retire there anyway when I was done playing," Burke said. "It was an easy transition to go into the organization and get involved with them because they do a first class job there, and it's only getting better. Hopefully they get the ownership issue straightened out, but as far as the hockey side of things, from coaching staff to management, it's a first-class organization, and I'm so happy to be a part of it."

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