PHILADELPHIA – Keith Jones might be the new Flyers president of hockey operations and Daniel Briere the official general manager but the team insists it’s going to take a five-person collaboration to lead the franchise out of the wilderness.
Comcast Spectacor chairman and CEO and team governor Dan Hilferty said as much at Monday’s press conference at the Wells Fargo Center as the team introduced Jones and Briere at their positions.
He made it a point to say both he, head coach John Tortorella and Valerie Camillo, president/CEO of Spectacor Sports & Entertainment, are also part of the leadership group which will be involved in a lot of the decision making.
“We all come to any endeavor with certain gifts and talents and others do as well,” Hilferty said. “The most successful organizations in the world are when people band together and understand each other’s skills. And each other lead when it’s their turn to lead.”
The Flyers unveiled their new theme, “A New Era of Orange,” on Friday with signs all over the WFC promoting the slogan.
“There will be total alignment between hockey operations and business operations,” Hilferty said. “I’ve had an ability in my career to assemble collaborative teams to achieve great things together. My philosophy is simple: We are stronger when we are together.
“Magic happens. It takes time. But magic happens when talented leaders unify toward a collective goal. For us, it’s about developing a winning culture for our beloved Flyers.”
Jones had to endure a rigorous interview process but came out on top. The Flyers believe both he and Briere can get this thing turned around in a timely fashion.
“Our search in hockey ops was about constructing the best team,” Hilferty said. “We look for individuals with complementary skills, personalities and experiences. This was about putting the right people in place to rebuild the team and sustain a winning culture.”
Jones is a big believer in teamwork going back to his days as a player.
“It’s one of the most important things, I think, in anything we do in life,” Jones said. “I always encourage kids to play sports because you learn how to be the member of a team. No matter what your role is, your role may increase as you get better at what you are doing, as you become a more important person.
“I want to make sure that people within our organization can grow. I think it’s important that you do the job you’re asked to do right now and when it’s time for you to advance, we’re going to make sure you advance. I want people to love working here. The important thing is working together, that’s something I’ve had in every job in my life.”
Briere has been around the pro game for the better part of three decades. Now he gets a chance to put all that experience to work.
“I remember when I retired (as a player) I was fortunate enough to start in the offices here,” Briere said. “I met some great people. I saw a whole side of the team and how everyone worked outside of the locker room, behind the scenes to really make the team successful.”
The GM has a lot of innovative ideas to set in motion and believes the fans will be excited to witness the fruits of those intentions.
“With our leadership group in place, we’re going to do this right,” he said. “And together. If there is one message that I want to send out today, especially to our most loyal fans, it’s that you have my full attention. Serving the last two months (as interim GM), it’s only made me hungrier to turn this thing around. I look forward to this summer and the start of a new Flyers era.”
>Flyers not for sale
Ever since the passing of team founder and owner Ed Snider in 2016, there have been rumors that Comcast Spector was looking to sell the team.
Hilferty was the latest to shoot down that speculation.
“Let me emphatically say, no,” Hilferty said. “Comcast Spectacor intends to have a long and successful run as owner of the Flyers. But today we start a new chapter.”
The lead man had a message for the Flyers’ passionate fan base.
“You are the heartbeat of this team,” he said. “Everything we do has to be for you. We need you. We want to make you proud to wear orange and black. We intend to compete at a high level year after year.
“Our goal is singular – to deliver a championship or more and to be the envy of the NHL.”