CALGARY, Alberta - At the top of Brad Treliving’s agenda after being hired in late April? Add an assistant or two.
The Calgary Flames general manager managed to do just that, naming former Potsdam Central and Clarkson University standout Craig Conroy and Brad Pascall as assistant GMs earlier this month.
“The game is becoming bigger,” Treliving said. “Each day is becoming more competitive. The question we ask every morning when we roll out of bed is how do we win? How do we win and how do we get better?
“Today we got better.”
Pascall joins the Flames after serving as vice-president of hockey operations/national teams with Hockey Canada since 2010 and has worked in the organization for the past 18 years. He served as Hockey Canada’s Senior Director of Men’s National Teams from 2006 to 2010 and was the Senior Director of Communications from 1998 to 2009.
He played a key role in Canada’s gold medal win in Men’s hockey at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi after collecting gold in Vancouver in 2010.
He has also been a member of team operations for Canada at the IIHF World Championship in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and directed Canada’s National Junior Team to gold medals at the 2007, 2008 and 2009 IIHF World Junior Championships.
“Brad’s been around winning and I think winning besets winning,” Treliving said. “I think you need to have a culture. I think you need to have it in your DNA of having success. We want to be about having success.
“When you look at Brad’s history obviously with Hockey Canada, there’s a trail of success. He’s been involved in terms of structurally the ‘Program of Excellence’ in Hockey Canada going up through Under-17, Under-18 programs, World Junior Championship and then obviously you look at marquee events with the Olympics.
“He’s an all-in guy but to have the success that he’s had throughout his career I think is going to be a big asset to us.”
With gold medals from every conceivable international tournament, Pascall decided it was time to chase silver.
“Having the opportunity to work at the highest levels of the game with the Olympics and the World Juniors is definitely a thrill and an honour,” Pascall said. “But one thing I haven’t been able to win is a Stanley Cup and to work towards a Stanley Cup and a developing program and work with a hockey club that has those aspirations is something that aligns with my goals.
“I’ve had a tremendous time at Hockey Canada and have had nothing but great memories there. I think the evolution of my experience of being involved with various championship teams and building an organization there from a high performance structure, it’s always an aspiration of mine to move onto the National Hockey League.”
The Flames promoted Conroy to a second assistant general manager’s position after completing his third season as special assistant to the GM position with the Flames.
His career in management started upon retiring from a playing career that saw him collect 182 goals and 542 points in 1009 games. He spent 507 of those games in a Flames uniform.
The decision to promote Conroy came quickly for Treliving.
“Craig is a guy who I heard a lot about coming in,” he said. “I know he was a popular player here, a popular person around the organization. I’ve been around a lot of players that have made the step into the front office and I can tell you from Day One, Craig was sort of infectious with me. He’s got a passion that very few have.
“I want to make it clear right here, Craig getting this role, it isn’t a popularity contest. We don’t win by popularity. We win by having the right people in the right boxes and the right winners around us and I think Craig is a star in the making. This guy bleeds the Calgary Flames and is very well deserving. He’s going to be a big, important piece of our organization moving forward.”
Conroy was happy with the promotion after quickly developing his relationship with Treliving.
“I never met Brad before,” Conroy said. “Our interaction was limited. For him to come in and to work every day together and to go to the (NHL Scouting) Combine and all the meetings, the pro scouting meetings, the amateur meetings, it was big. It was good for me. I had a much better feeling after two or three weeks. At first, you’re never sure.
“Brad just called me in and said, ‘This is what I want to do’ and I was pretty excited about it. You’re always happy to move up and just be a part of it. That’s the one thing. Every decision, everything he’s done, he keeps you in the loop. You know what’s going on and what he’s thinking.”