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Brian Burke

NHL Leader | Community Activist | Philanthropist

Brian Burke
Lessons on Strategy
A Closer Look at the State of Hockey
Brian Burke
Lessons on Strategy
A Closer Look at the State of Hockey

Hockey legend Brian Burke is a dynamic figure in both the worlds of business and sport. He has held leadership positions in several NHL organizations including the Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vancouver Canucks, as well as the United States Olympic national hockey team. Having led teams to both a Stanley Cup and Olympic silver medal, Burke is a sought-after speaker on leadership, business management and growth, and, of course, his prolific career in professional sports.

Burke’s hockey career began in 1987 with the Vancouver Canucks as their NHL player agent and director of hockey operations. He was credited with reviving the franchise as the team won a playoff series and captured a division title during his tenure. From 2005-2007, Burke was the general manager for the Anaheim Ducks, who, under his leadership won the 2007 Stanley Cup championship. Following this, Burke became the president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs before later serving as the president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins.

In 2010, Burke joined the United States Olympic national team as general manager for the Vancouver Games. He returned for the 2014 Games in Sochi as the director of player development. In recognition of his prolific career, Burke was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2023. Today, Burke is the inaugural Executive Director of the newly formed Professional Women’s Hockey League Association.

Away from the rink, Burke is well known for his work within the community. He is a vocal activist against homophobia in sports, a strong supporter of first response personnel and military service members, an environmentalist, and a humanitarian. Since his son Patrick founded the “You Can Play” project in support of his brother Brendan, Burke has been very vocal about the importance of LGBTQ2+ inclusion in the NHL. He was honoured with a Spirit of Courage Award in 2012 from the Courage Campaign Institute for his work.

Burke is also an avid supporter of many philanthropic organizations, including Ducks Unlimited Canada, The Canadian Safe School Network (CSSN), Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, Special Olympics Cops, and Computers Merry-Go-Round Children’s Foundation. In May 2011, he was presented with the Easter Seals Toronto’s Tribute award for lending support to kids with physical disabilities and for excellence in business and community service.

Speaking topics

Presentations listed below include in-person and virtual keynotes, as well as workshops, fireside chats, and other presentation formats.

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Client reviews

  • The evening went very well. Brian was phenomenal. He truly is a dynamic and engaging speaker. The Q&A was the highlight of his time with us. Brian was also very gracious with his time and spoke with whomever approached him. Everything worked out just as expected. The guests were truly engaged. It was a great evening and we probably could have gone for another hour with Brian speaking. Everyone thought it was fantastic.

  • Brian is a charismatic speaker and his delivery is based on a history of tremendous business successes, which have given him the authority to speak so dynamically.

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