5 flyers to take home from Keith Jones and Danny

5 flyers to take home from Keith Jones and Danny Briere’s press conference – NBC Sports

There was Keith Jones and Danny Briere, back in the lower bowl of the Wells Fargo Center, back under the bright lights in Philadelphia.

They weren’t wearing Flyers jerseys this time. Instead, they all wore a nice suit, an orange tie and a Flyers pin on their jackets.

They were introduced as the newest leaders in the franchise, which is a far cry from the proud times they were once set in.

In a high-profile news conference on Friday, Jones was officially introduced as the Flyers’ president of hockey operations and general manager of Briere, after holding the job on an interim basis for two months.

For Jones, it’s his first opportunity for a front office role after a long run of successes in broadcasting.

“Very surreal,” Jones said from the podium.

For Briere, his rise in hockey action has fulfilled his dream of becoming a GM chairman.

“It’s pretty cool to be back,” Briere said. “Not on the ice per se, but in this building on the ice.” [level].”

Joining Jones and Briere onstage were Comcast Spectacor Chairman and CEO and Flyers Governor Dan Hilferty, Spectacor Sports & Entertainment President and CEO Valerie Camillo, and head coach John Tortorella.

“We still have a lot to do,” Jones said. “I am very happy to be able to give back to this city what it gave to me.

“I promise you that we will make it together. This is not my team. This is our team. And I look forward to working with everyone, everyone who is here. The Philadelphia Flyers are coming back.”

As Jones mentioned, there is still a long way to go. The organization missed the postseason in three straight years for the first time since 1989–90 through 1993–94 when it went five straight seasons without a playoff spot. In the last two seasons the club suffered 108 defeats (56-84-24). The much patient fan base felt lost from direction.

“If there’s one message I want to send to our most loyal fans today in particular, it’s that you have my full attention,” Briere said. “It’s been an incredible honor to have served as the team’s GM for the past two months, and in fact it has only made me hungrier to get things back on track.”

The Flyers see this as a new era. They hope Friday was a crucial step in the rebuilding process.

“Today is about the Philadelphia Flyers,” Camillo said in her opening statement at the press conference, “and it’s about making this the toughest, loudest building in the NHL again.”

Let’s come to our five insights of the day:

1. Flyers approached Jones

While covering the game for local and national television broadcasts for 23 years, Jones never intended to turn his job into a front office gig.

That didn’t change when the Flyers fired hockey president and GM Chuck Fletcher in March.

How did Jones suddenly become the leader of the franchise’s Brain Trust?

The Flyers wanted him.

“I was asked if I was interested,” Jones said after the press conference. “And then the ball started rolling and I said yes.”

How long did he have to think about it?

“I’ll pretend for a few seconds,” he said.

Was Jones surprised by the Flyers’ interest?

“I’ve heard it from previous regimes,” he said.

As a winger, Jones played portions of nine seasons in the NHL, three of them for the Flyers from 1998 to 2000. He was with the club that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2000 and played eight games the following season before he retired.

Jones transitioned into the media world and has been Jim Jackson’s broadcast partner on Comcast SportsNet/NBC Sports Philadelphia for the past 17 Flyers seasons. He has also served on national broadcasts at NBC Sports and Turner Sports.

Why tackle another ball game now?

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but this is the only team I would have ever thought about doing something like that for,” Jones said. “I wouldn’t have interviewed anywhere else.”

If Jones had to even think about taking up that challenge with the Flyers, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Ed Snider came to mind. Jones was close to the franchise’s legendary founder, who died in April 2016.

“I don’t think Mr. Snider would be shocked if I stood here today,” Jones said. “I was a trusted confidant of his because I spoke honestly to him whenever he called. I guess that’s why I’m not shocked to be standing here. But I’m really happy to be standing here.”

Philadelphia Flyers

Left to right: John Tortorella, Keith Jones, Dan Hilferty, Valerie Camillo and Danny Briere.

2. Find the last piece of the trio

Hilferty called the Flyers’ hiring process for the position of President of the Hockey Ops “exhaustive.”

Looking for an outside firm to complement the search, the Flyers met with three and settled on Modern Executive Solutions. Billy King, the former President and General Manager of the Sixers, is a senior partner at Modern Executive Solutions and facilitated the Flyers’ process.

The team also worked with PBI Sports’ Neil Glasberg for additional support.

“We took ideas from many sources, from alumni, alumni, and others in the hockey community,” Hilferty said.

After the press conference, Hilferty said there were more than 100 candidates.

“We ended up with a smaller group that Modern did some interviews with,” said Hilferty. “Then we got to the last three, which we did for a day of interviews and follow-up interviews, and concluded that Keith Jones was the best candidate for the job.”

The Flyers clearly liked Jones’s leadership style and ability to delegate. He’s well-connected within the league and easy to get along with, which helps when this newcomer teams up with two others to form a trio of decision-makers.

Jones will be the key element that ties the hockey and business sides together, an aspect the Flyers were keen to improve. On Friday, they emphasized teamwork and collaboration.

“I was nervous the whole time about being completely open because it’s an important hire,” said Hilferty. “But all in all I was very enthusiastic about the process.”

The Flyers wanted to give Briere the keys but also give him proper support. Jones’ pre-existing relationship with Briere and Tortorella, as well as his deep knowledge of the organization of the Flyers, definitely carried weight.

“Some of the contestants, who themselves have great hockey reputations, had a hard and quick way of saying, ‘This is how I do it, we’ll see if the other two meet my standards.’ “I just didn’t see it that way,” Hilferty said. “I took it like, ‘No, no, we want someone with real leadership skills,’ but we also wanted someone who understands that as an organization, we feel like we have the best coach to guide us in this next phase – he is.” As a teacher, he is patient in building the team and wants to do it right. I’m not going to repeat what I said about Danny, but he’s got those skills, he’s got those leadership qualities.

“We want the third person who is comfortable with those two other leaders but will commit to leading the hockey side of the organization. As we struggled through this discovery process, Keith proved to be the right person to do it.”

As for the full-time GM position, it was largely Briere’s fault to lose. And he wouldn’t give it up.

“I met Danny, I can tell you that from a personal perspective, I see him as a leader, a well-organized, experienced person in the space, interim tag or not, I can tell you that from day one.” We really interacted, I saw him as the next GM of the Philadelphia Flyers,” Hilferty said. “So the process went on in my head, conversations with Valerie, I just watched him and Torts interact, we just felt strongly that there was no need for a process. We had our general manager.”

More: Jones and Briere have something remarkable to allay inexperience concerns

3. “What tells me more is that he stayed”

The Flyers face big decisions this summer as they try to keep getting younger. You need to make the most of this off-season to better position yourself for the future.

As president, Jones will have full decision-making authority within the hockey ops department. He will also engage in business.

As general manager, Briere will have complete autonomy over the squad. The 45-year-old is considered an up-and-coming talent assessor in league circles.

His playing days with the Flyers began in 2007 when he signed as a free agent. The 5’7″ center became a popular playoff player in Philadelphia due to his ability to deliver crucial moments and think the game on a different level.

“I have absolute confidence that Danny Briere is the right man for the job,” Jones said. “I’ve had a lot of conversations with Danny about hockey. What impresses me the most about Danny is his brains. What also impresses me is that he stayed here. He picked the Philadelphia Flyers to play as an unrestricted free agent—might.” I’m somewhere in the league. That tells me a lot. But what tells me even more is that he stayed. That’s probably something that strikes me when I watch Danny Briere. He wanted to be a flyer. He worked in to eventually become the general manager of the Flyers. He’s ready for it.

Jones’ voice is heard as it should be. The 54-year-old will provide input to Briere and they will work together. But Briere makes the final decision on roster and draft decisions. Tortorella is expected to feature heavily in the squad as well.

“I’m here for Danny Briere — whatever he needs, whenever he needs it,” Jones said. “I will give Danny my opinion and Danny will make the final decision on player personnel, trades, etc.”

“I’ve been away, I’ve been working. Danny had no idea I would be that guy. So we’re going to be having some real conversations here over the next few weeks and I’m really looking forward to getting to those conversations.

Briere and the Flyers have made it a point to rebuild the club the right way. The GM will not publicly predict when the team will compete again.

He can’t wait to have Jones close by now. Both are the opposite of power-hungry people.

“I’m excited about it,” he said. “I’m so excited. Just hearing his opinion over the years, having the opportunity to be close to him to experience some of the alumni stuff that we’ve done over the years, I can’t be happier than having him here.” So I don’t have any Remember it will work.

“I don’t want people around me to be just yes men or yes women. It’s about getting everyone involved. I want different opinions, I want people to bring their own vision and we will find the right answer.”

Jordan Hall/NBC Sports Philadelphia

Keith Jones speaks during the opening remarks at Friday’s press conference while Danny Briere looks on.

4. “Are the flyers for sale?”

In his opening remarks, Hilferty made a point of answering a question the Flyers had asked during their search for the hockey ops president.

“One thing we heard from several candidates who asked the question, ‘Are the flyers for sale?’ “Let me emphatically say no,” Hilferty said. “Comcast Spectacor intends to have long and prosperous ownership of the Flyers. Today we start a new chapter, but before we get to that, I have a message for our fans. You, Philadelphia Flyers fans, are the heartbeat of this team. Everything we do has to be for you.”

Hilferty, a graduate of St. Joseph’s School in 1978, spoke very favorably at the press conference. He formulated a clear vision and detailed the organization’s plan.

The fandom wants words to be backed by deeds. After all, it is a result-oriented company. Flyers fans have seen just one playoff series win in the past 11 years.

But showing openness and keeping them informed about the team’s direction are things they probably appreciate.

“It’s going to be a multi-year process,” Hilferty said. “I have a firm and optimistic belief that if we share that with the fans, if we meet them where they are, they will join this journey and get to know our players better, the younger players, as they develop.”

“We promise to be transparent along the way. This won’t be perfect. No human organism is perfect. It’s going to take time, so bear with us, but know that our goal is unique — to achieve a championship or more and become the envy of the NHL.”

Despite his lack of experience, Jones believes he and Briere will have what they need.

“We have the resources to bring anyone we want,” he said. “We want to be creative, we want to have the best people working for us so we look smart. We don’t go into it and think we know everything. We’re going to use what’s available to us to add something.” It’s about getting out of there and making sure we’re doing everything we can to not only get ahead, but to stay where.” we need to be in the game. This will be a process.

“But we have the resources for it. It’s a great franchise to work for, we’re very fortunate. And we’re going to use those resources, we’re going to push the envelope, we will.” As we dig, we’re going to find ways to pull ourselves back faster than meets the eye. We will do everything we can to achieve this.”

5. Tortorella slams the ex-Flyers’ criticism

As might be expected, Tortorella didn’t sugarcoat his feelings.

Especially on the hot topic of the Flyers hiring former Flyers.

“Why do people think they’re sick when you’re a former flyer and you’re from the organization that you shouldn’t be in this organization? That we need to look outside?” Tortorella said. “It’s the person you see. I’m proud that they’re Flyers, I’m proud of these people here and other alumni who care about this organization. That’s what excites me the most.”

“I think we have strong personalities and I think they care. I don’t get the thought in this city, ‘Oh, it’s another ex-Flyer, they do it the same way.’ Damned. It’s so important to have that belief, so I’m excited. I can’t wait to get to work and I’m already starting.”

Hilferty called Tortorella the “spiritual leader” of the Flyers.

Tortorella sat next to Jones. He is excited to work with him.

“This guy has been following the league and his job for years – he talks to coaches, GMs, understands players, systems and all that,” Tortorella said. “It’s so important to get your opinion. We’ll fight along the way, and that’s healthy. But knowing that we are in this together makes me happy.”

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