SBD/June 19, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Minding My Business With Canucks VP/Hockey Operations Laurence Gilman



Gilman's first NHL job was in the finance department with the Jets in '94
Canucks VP/Hockey Operations & Assistant GM LAURENCE GILMAN is likely to rack up some serious frequent flier miles in the near future, as the Canucks last week announced a new affiliation agreement for an AHL team about 3,000 miles from Vancouver in upstate New York. While the exact management structure for the newly named AHL Utica Comets is still undetermined, he said, "We intend to have someone there handing the day-to-day operations." Gilman spoke to THE DAILY earlier this week about how the NHL's new CBA will challenge front office execs, the prophetic words of a former boss, and where to get the best fresh fish off the English Bay.

My time at work is spent thinking about...
We have been a team that has operated at the upper end of the NHL salary cap system, and I have spent a great deal of time on a day-to-day basis thinking about how our team is going to maximize our efficiency within the salary cap system, exploit the window that exists with our team given the maturity level of our core players.

Working with the new rules... 
Leading up to the expiration of this collective bargaining agreement, I think that teams and general managers developed a very good understanding of the last agreement and really got better at making player personnel decisions earlier, with respect to a player’s evolutionary history. As the years moved forward, there were less the supply of players on July 1, the number of unrestricted free agents available on July 1 dwindled. What’s going to be interesting now, is that the supply of players is currently not that big, but at the same time, there may be a secondary supply of players because some other high level players may be bought out.

Best advice I've ever received...
When I started in the business, in Winnipeg in 1994, the President and Owner of the Winnipeg Jets was a gentleman by the name of BARRY SHENKAROW. At the time I was hired as a young attorney and I was actually hired in the finance department and was going to be working with the general manager JOHN PADDOCK and be involved in player contract negotiations and managing their salaries. What Barry said to me at the time, he was very prophetic, he said, “What we’re doing here with you -- by bringing a lawyer into the hockey operations world -- is revolutionary. However, the future of this industry is going to involve people like you. People who have law degrees, business degrees. They will be the future people running these franchises." ... And nearly 20 years later every team has someone with my background -- educational or business.

First media I consume each day...
The first thing I do in the morning is I fire up Twitter. Particularly because I work on the west coast which is three hours behind the east coast, I find out what has happened in the sports world and in the business world and the news world overnight. I think it’s the most efficient source of information gathering that I could find.

Smartphone of choice...
An iPhone 5, and I was a reluctant iPhone user at first. However, I now find it to be an indispensable item in my life. I travel an immense amount, whether it’s with the hockey team or on scouting trips or recently in getting our minor league system up and running, and I find that the applications that they have, particularly with respect to travel applications, things like TripAdvisor and Yelp!, help me find hotels and good meals wherever I need to go.

Vancouver bites...
When the weather is nice, an awesome spot to capture what the city is all about is to go to a place called Go Fish!, which is owned by a high-end restaurant here, but it is a shack that they operate adjacent to Granville Island where you can go down to the docks and buy fresh fish. If the weather isn’t perfect, the next option for Vancouver would be to go for sushi. And the city has such a plethora of fantastic sushi places that I’d be hard pressed to name any particular one. My usual order is, I’m a cone guy, so I like a spicy tuna cone or a spicy spider cone.

When I have downtime...
I spend it with my wife and kids. I travel so much for so many things that there’s nothing better for me than spending an hour on the soccer field watching my son play or being in the gym for a couple hours watching my daughter compete in rhythmic gymnastics. The rules in my house are such that once I come in through the front door, we don’t talk a lot of hockey.

Too painful to watch...
Last year when we were eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings after losing in Game 7 the year before, I was angry during the Cup Final and didn’t watch based on principle. This year, I find that my mental position is different, and I don’t have as much anger, but I’m experiencing longing to get back to the level that our team was at in 2011. So I have watched most of Game 1 and Game 2 and I expect that I will continue to watch this series as it unfolds.

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