After the worst start in the 112 year history of the franchise, something had to give for the Montreal Canadiens.
This afternoon, the axe fell.
The Montreal Canadiens announced that general manager Marc Bergevin, assistant GM Trevor Timmins and senior VP of press relations and communications Paul Wilson were all relieved of their duties effective immediately.
Former New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton has been hired as executive vice-president of hockey operations.
In a statement, owner and president Geoff Molson thanked Bergevin and Timmins for their services to the club over the past nine and 17 years respectively.
“Their relentless work allowed our fans to experience many memorable moments, including last summer’s playoff run that culminated with the Stanley Cup Final. We wish them all the success they deserve in the pursuit of their careers. I think, however, that the time has come for a leadership change within our hockey operations department that will bring a new vision and should allow our fans and partners to continue cheering for a championship team.”
Bergevin himself released a statement soon after the news broke. The departing general manager thanked Molson, the players, coaches, his staff, the fans and the media. And he had this to say to the fans of the organization he sat at the helm at for nearly a decade.
“Even if I always said that the goal was to make the playoffs and that everything was possible once there, the real objective was always to bring the Cup to Montreal.
I know you would have liked to hear me say that at each golf tournament at the start of the season, but this thought was behind every decision I made since my first day at the head of this organization. Last year allowed us to get closer to the ultimate objective but we fell short of hoisting the Holy Grail. Despite this, I am proud of what we achieved as an organization. I sincerely hope this objective will be achieved sooner than later.”
Bergevin leaves the club with a record of 344-265-81, the 18th best record in the NHL during that time. The Montreal Canadiens made six playoff appearances and won three division titles during his tenure, making it to the Stanley Cup Finals last year.
Molson has called a press conference for 11 a.m. tomorrow in Brossard.
More news, analysis and details to come at Montreal Hockey Now.