The Philadelphia Flyers officially began a « new era of Orange » on Friday when they introduced Keith Jones and Danny Briere to the press as the new president of hockey operations and general manager, respectively.
The press conference came just two days after Frank Seravalli announced the Flyers were seriously considering Jones for the job.
Jones and Briere, who have served as interim general manager since the Flyers fired Chuck Fletcher on March 10, were joined by coach John Tortorella and president Daniel Hilferty, who joined the team in February after a long and successful career with Independence Blue Cross.
Hilferty, the team’s new governor, spoke enthusiastically about the hirings.
« We intend to honor the incredible history of Orange and Black while blazing a new trail, » Hilferty said. « I have full confidence that Keith and Danny, as well as Coach Tortorella, [CEO of Spectacor Sports Valerie] Camillo and I are the right management team to guide the Philadelphia Flyers. »
Jones, who watched the Flyers from the broadcast booth for more than a decade and played for the team from 1998 to 2001, was humbled by his new role.
« To be able to bring this team back to winning lore…is a real honor and one that I don’t take lightly, » Jones said. « I consider the Philadelphia Flyers organization to be the gold standard of the NHL and professional sports. »
Briere was none the less excited. « These last few months have only strengthened my resolve and made me even more eager to rebuild this team and give this city a Stanley Cup, » he told the assembled media.
The Flyers have never been so far from discord, but Hilferty, Jones and Brière painted a picture of a refocused organization that won’t back down from the work it takes to regain its stripes.
The hiring of former players in important roles has drawn groans from some corners of the Flyers fan base. Yet this leadership structure is different from what they are used to.
Hilferty is a hockey underdog brought in to put an end to the incompetent management of Comcast’s post-Ed Snider team. Although they are former Flyers, Brière and Jones come from outside the ubiquitous Bob Clarke line of succession.
Jones has the unique perspective of stepping into his role as chairman while already knowing every player on the team personally.
Brière is a new face as chief executive, but has attracted interest from other organizations over the past year.
The trio, of which Tortorella is an unofficial fourth member, said all the right things throughout day one. It will take more than words to revive the Flyers, however.