Pittsburgh Penguins current President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke spoke out recently after Sharks player James Reimer refused to wear the San Jose Pride Night warmup jersey.
“I repeat that I am extremely disappointed I wish players would understand that the pride sweaters are about inclusion and welcoming everybody,” said Burke via NBC Sports. “A player wearing pride colors or tape isn’t endorsing a set of values or enlisting in your cause! He is saying you are welcome here. And you are, in every single NHL building.”
Burke’s son Brendan, a hockey player, publicly came out as gay just months before he was killed in a car accident in February 2010.
Burke should be, and is by many, applauded for his passion for inclusion in hockey and sports.
He’s also keeping the memory of his late-son alive. Again, something to be highly commended.
And Burke should continue to speak out when he sees what he perceives something is against inclusion.
But I’d also like him to speak out sometimes about the Penguins.
When Burke was hired along with General Manager Ron Hextall, It was Burke who was reportedly going to be the spokesperson hockey operations when the duo were hired in February 2021 after former GM Jim Rutherford abruptly resigned.
But so far, this season at least, we haven’t heard much of anything from Burke. That’s seemingly been the case since the Fenway Sports Group, owners of the Boston Red Sox and other sports teams and entities took over as majority owners.
Hextall and Burke were signed under the Mario Lemieux/Ron Burkle ownership group.
Hextall has been doing most of the talking with a few new conferences.
Burke did say earlier this year he is the proud of the team, admitting that might surprise some people.
But now, the Penguins are a point out of the second wild card for the playoffs, they’ve lost four-straight, when they desperately need points.
The Penguins are wasting good to great years from the big three of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. Poor goaltending, defensive injuries and lack of production from the depth lines.
It would be nice to hear from the president of hockey operations. Maybe the first question could be, “what would you say it is….ya do here?”