After a failed season, Vancouver Canucks fired their General Manager (GM) Mike Gillis and began their hunt for a new GM. The search has taken them a month, but this Wednesday, Vancouver Canucks president Trevor Linden announced that the organization has hired Jim Benning to assume the position of general manager.
Linden announced that a press conference will be held on Friday at Rogers Arena, where the 11th general manager in Canucks history will be introduced. Linden is excited for the fans to meet Benning, who most recently was assistant general manager of the Boston Bruins.
Jim Benning is a 51-year-old from Edmonton, Alberta. He is frequently referred to as a hard worker, and a very down to earth and dedicated person. With an outstanding resume, Benning is considered to be a perfect fit for the position. Not only did he fit the profile of what Linden was looking for, but the chemistry between the two men was perfect. Linden describes it as an ability to connect with Jim on a hockey level.
Benning’s NHL resume speaks for itself. Benning helped assemble the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. This including drafting big hockey stars of the day, such as Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Dougie Hamilton, and Tyler Seguin. Benning spent 10 years as a successful scout and director of amateur scouting in Buffalo. At that time the Buffalo Sabres had selected Jason Pominville, Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek, all of whom are successful and well respected players in the National Hockey League (NHL) today. In this time spent administratively committing to the Sabres and Bruins, Jim Benning had an impressive 47 of 109 players drafted play in the NHL.
The reason why the Vancouver Canucks could not do better than to hire Jim Benning for the position of a general manager is his vast experience. Before Benning began working in the NHL management, he was an incredible defenseman in the Western Hockey League (WHL) when he played for the Portland Winterhawks. During the 1980-81, Benning scored 139 points (28-111-139) which helped him achieve one of the highest scoring seasons for a blueliner in WHL history. When Benning was 18, he was drafted sixth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs and spent five seasons playing in Toronto, before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks in 1986. He played 241 games with the Canucks franchise, and was even named the team’s top defenseman in 1987-88 season.
With a tough summer ahead, both Linden and Benning are planning to get to work immediately as they face a difficult challenge of trying to rebuild the Canucks into a Stanley Cup winning team. And though they have hired Jim Benning as the new general manager, the Vancouver Canucks are still looking to hire a coach whose views will align with those of Trevor Linden. While much of the Canucks’ future is unpredictable, right now the main focus is on making the best of the 2014 NHL Draft and hiring the best coach possible. Both the organization and the fans are hoping there is a Stanley Cup somewhere in the future for the Canucks, who have never won the prestigious trophy in the history of their existence.
Commentary by Ivelina Kunina