TORONTO (AP) — Brian Burke's brash and outspoken style wasn't a good fit for the new corporate owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs fired their general manager Wednesday with the NHL season set to resume this month following a tentative settlement ending the lockout.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment President Tom Anselmi said at a news conference that longtime Burke assistant David Nonis will fill the job. Burke will stay as a senior adviser.
Anselmi acknowledged that four years without a playoff berth factored into the decision. But ultimately, he added, ownership wanted a different look at the top.
Canada's largest telecommunication companies, Rogers Communications and BCE Inc., took control of the Toronto Maple Leafs and NBA's Toronto Raptors after the 1.3 billion deal closed in August.
"Brian had a style and we knew what we were getting when he was hired a number of years ago," Anselmi said. "This is really about a change in leadership voice and leadership direction."
Anselmi fired Burke on Wednesday morning, the announcement startling many. Nonis was among those who didn't see the firing coming.
"Brian, when we were talking this morning, said 'I get it, ownership is changing,'" Anselmi said.
The new board of directors let Burke go before the Maple Leafs might have had a chance to make the playoffs in a lockout-shortened season. Toronto has not made the playoffs since Burke was hired in 2008. The club last played in the postseason in 2004 and hasn't won a Stanley Cup since 1967.