Briere says his journey is right for Flyers GM, feels ‘rebuild doesn't mean fire sale'


Wearing a white Flyers polo shirt, Danny Briere sat down in front of a black Flyers backdrop.

The logo he said he loves was featured prominently.

This was not an easy spot.

It was a little after 8:30 a.m. ET on a Sunday. With daylight saving time, it was essentially 7:30 a.m. ET. His boss had just been fired two days ago and his team had just played in Pittsburgh the day prior. He's hoping to earn the Flyers' general manager job, but has it only in the interim for now. And questions were coming his way about the scrutinized and precarious state of the Flyers.

But Briere couldn't refrain from smiling.

"My phone hasn't stopped buzzing for more than about three seconds," Briere said in a Zoom press conference. "It was a little bit of survival mode the last couple of days."

He has wanted an opportunity to be a GM. He's getting his shot.

"I'm not going to lie, it's something that I saw myself do from early on when I was playing," Briere said. "I always believed that I could be in this position one day. It's why it's so special and so exciting for me."

The 45-year-old Briere, a beloved former Flyer and clutch playoff performer, was named the club's interim GM Friday. With a little over a month left in the 2022-23 season, he's taking over for Chuck Fletcher, who was fired as president of hockey operations and GM.

Briere had been highly involved with the Flyers in various ways for a few years before officially coming on board over a year ago as a special assistant to the GM. He thanked Fletcher on Sunday, calling the former GM a "true gentleman" and "one of the nicest people in the hockey world."

The Flyers are in the process of searching for people to fill two separate positions: president of hockey ops and GM. It would be surprising if Briere isn't the clear-cut front-runner for the GM role while the Flyers look to find a president to oversee him.

"I see myself staying here and being part of the future," Briere said. "I hope they believe in me, as well. It feels that way. I honestly don't have a problem with the [interim] tag. We'll see what happens next. I'm honored to be here and to be in this position. I want to do everything possible to help put this franchise on the right track at this point."

Briere's name has been rising in hockey circles. He already knows the organization, knows what's lacking, knows what to look for in players and has a good rapport with the head coach. In late November, John Tortorella praised Briere for his "brilliant mind."

The Flyers are going to miss the playoffs in three consecutive years for the first time since 1989-90 to 1993-94, when they went five straight seasons without a postseason berth.

Tortorella hasn't shied away from being fully forthright about the team's timeline toward contending. Despite it not really meaning much, Fletcher never quite used the word rebuild when discussing the Flyers' outlook. Tortorella doesn't really care for it, either.

Briere agreed with Fletcher, that the Flyers don't need to be completely gutted. But he's well aware the process will take time.

"I want to make sure that rebuild doesn't mean fire sale," Briere said. "There's a big difference between the two. I want to make that clear — we're not going to get rid of everybody. We have some good players here, some players that are in certain roles that we're going to keep, as well.

"We're going to look at every possible option out there to improve the team. I don't think this is a quick fix. That's my belief and that's why I'm not afraid to use the word rebuild, as long as you all understand those little asterisks — that it's not a fire sale. It doesn't mean fire sale for me."

Briere has never been a GM or assistant GM, but he has experience with the Flyers on both the business and hockey ops sides. He was also president and governor of the ECHL's Maine Mariners. And his long playing career won't hurt.

He doesn't question his credentials.

"There's no doubt in my mind that I can do the job," Briere said. "I'm going to have some great people around me, as well. It's not something that I'm going to do alone. I was never a player that worked alone. I always believed in team first, team mentality first, and it's going to be the same approach on this side. I love working with people and it's going to be the same way moving forward now.

"Even when I played as a player, I was always someone that studied my opponents, also studied my GMs and what they were doing, what other GMs were doing.

"Maybe I was hired officially under Chuck in the past year, but my journey has started a long, long time ago."

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