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NHL Notebook: Brian Burke to serve leadership role with women’s hockey union and Calgary Flames defenceman Oliver Kylington opens up about mental health struggles

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Photo credit:Geoff Burke-USA TODAY
Aleena Aksenchuk
8 months ago
Former Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations, Brian Burke, has been selected to serve a leadership role with the professional women’s hockey association.
Former Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations Brian Burke has been selected to serve a leadership role with the Professional Women’s Hockey Association.
Bruke will take on a role formerly succeeded by professional hockey player Jayne Hefford, The Hockey News reported on Saturday. In late June, the Mark Walter Group and Billie Jean King Enterprises, who both finance the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association, purchased the Premier Hockey Federation, resulting in the creation of a new women’s league. In July, the PWHPA officially confirmed to corroborate their collective bargaining agreement to merge leagues and is expected to begin play in January 2024.
Burke will take on a role formerly succeeded by professional hockey player Jayne Hefford, The Hockey News reported on Saturday. In late June, the Mark Walter Group and Billie Jean King Enterprises, who both finance the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association, purchased the Premier Hockey Federation, resulting in the creation of a new women’s league. In July, the PWHPA officially confirmed to corroborate their collective bargaining agreement to merge leagues and is expected to begin play in January 2024.
Over Burke’s 35-year career in professional and international hockey, he has served as general manager for the Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, and Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s served as the president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames and, most recently, the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was relieved of his duties with the Penguins in April after the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2005-2006.
Here’s more details Daily Faceoff‘s Naftali Clinton:
The PWHPA board includes Hilary Knight, Brianne Jenner, Sarah Nurse, and Kendal Coyne-Schofield. All of whom are long-time veterans of women’s hockey and some of the greatest players to ever play in the sport. Brian Burke will be joining them to provide support in advocating for player’s rights and better working conditions and pay. He was most recently the president of hockey operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was fired from the Penguins because they missed the playoffs for the first time in 16 years during the 2022-23 season.

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Calgary Flames Oliver Kylington opens up about mental health struggles

In a recent interview with HockeyNews.se, Calgary Flames defenceman Oliver Kylington opened up about his mental health struggles and is ready to return to play for the 2023-24 season.
After battling “mental and psychological problems” to work on his health, the blueliner missed all of this past season. Kylington has been working through different treatments that include cognitive-behavioral therapy. In his interview, Kylington shared with HockeyNews.se‘s Henrik Sjoberg about his journey to becoming more open about his struggles.
“It was definitely a fear to share things that are so close to one’s heart. … I do not want to go into details about what happened, but it was a great shame I had to talk about things like this. Society is programmed not to display negative emotions,” Kylington said.
“People think it’s not OK to feel bad. I used escape behaviors when things got in front of one’s face because it’s the easiest way out. I quickly understood that when you dare to show yourself vulnerable to other people, you really get closer to people.”
Kylington was the Flames’ 60th overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft and has spent the entirety of his five years in the NHL with the club. In 2021-22 he had the best season of his career, scoring nine goals and 31 points. The blueliner has one year remaining on his two-year $2.5 million AAV contract he signed back in August of 2022. He will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2023-24 campaign.
Here’s more from the interview from Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis:
Kylington said he’s excited to return to the Flames, a team that has had one of the more interesting offseasons. The Flames traded Tyler Toffoli, with multiple others – including Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin and Mikael Backlund – all expected to not sign new deals with the club next summer. The Flames missed the postseason in 2022-23.
“I love to play hockey and that’s all I want to do, (and) I’m happy now (to be) feeling better and I can focus on the right things,” the defenceman said. “I’m doing really well right now and I’m looking forward to a new season.”

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