PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Flyers have a new team president, but their old one isn’t going too far away. Paul Holmgren on Thursday stepped aside as the team president and into a senior adviser position to Comcast Spectacor CEO Dave Scott and Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher.
Fletcher will now take on the role of president of hockey operations in addition to his GM duties. Fletcher will report directly to Scott under the new structure.
“It’s been an honor to service this franchise in many different roles throughout my life and I look forward to this next chapter,” Holmgren said. “I approached Dave about my idea to step aside to spend more time with my family. I have complete confidence in Chuck in his new role, leading the Flyers to great things.
“The Flyers have given so much to me and my family over the years and I have forged life-long friendships with the many players, coaches, employees and fans who have helped me make Philadelphia home for over 40 years.”
Holmgren said in a conference call with reporters this has been a move in the making since June 2018.
“I first approached Dave about this back in June of 2018,” Holmgren said. “We talked about where I was in life and how I wanted to start spending more time with my grandchildren and my family. It kind of started there and we went through the year and nailed down the details as we went along.
“Where I’m at, I have eight grandchildren that I like and want to get to know. I want to be around. I’ve spent a long time in the hockey world, it’s been a long time with the Flyers and I felt as I went through this year particularly, I thought it’s time to step aside and move on to a different phase in my life.”
Holmgren served as the team president for the past five years after the Flyers restructured their front office in May 2014. Holmgren was promoted from general manager to president of hockey operations when the Flyers made Ron Hextall their GM on May 7, 2014.
Last November, with the Flyers quickly sinking, Holmgren fired Hextall after four-plus seasons in the GM seat and began a major franchise reconstruction. Holmgren hired Fletcher on Dec. 3 as general manager in a move that ultimately proved to be his successor too.
“I think once Chuck got into the role, it became more apparent to me – I can’t speak for Dave – but Chuck has a really good grab of things,” Holmgren said. “He loves the Flyers, he knows the iconic brand that is out there for the Flyers. He knows how important the Flyers are to the city of Philadelphia and wants to get us back to where we should be.”
“I love what he’s done with the coaching staff. I love what he did prior to the draft. I really love all the things that he has done. There is no question in my mind that this is the right time and no question in my mind that the leadership Chuck has with Dave’s help is going to be great for the Flyers moving forward.”
Holmgren wrapped up his 40th season in the Flyers’ organization in 2018-19 and is the only person in franchise history to serve as a player, assistant coach, head coach, general manager and president. He also was the Flyers’ director of pro scouting in the mid-1990s and assistant GM from 1999 to 2006.
“Paul has been an invaluable leader within the Flyers’ family for more than 40 years and instrumental in placing the organization in a strong position for future success,” Scott said. “Paul has earned a place among the organization’s all-time greats and certainly fits the role exemplified by our late chairman Ed Snider: ‘A Flyer Forever.'”
“I was raised a Flyer. I like to believe I’ll always have ties to the organization because of how I feel about them, the city, the people I’ve worked with over the number of years I’ve been here,” Holmgren said. “It’s a family to me and I still see it as a family.”
With Holmgren out as president, the Flyers’ power structure looks almost completely unfamiliar. Fletcher came to the Flyers having no ties to the organization, which was something that Holmgren said was atop his wish list for the team’s next GM back in November.
Fletcher now oversees all hockey operations with assistant GM and vice president Brent Flahr – Fletcher’s right-hand – also a fresh face.
“I want to thank Paul for his leadership and passion as we work to build a championship caliber team,” Fletcher said. “I’ve known Paul for many years and it’s been a privilege to work with him over the last several months, and I will continue to seek his counsel.
“The Philadelphia Flyers are a storied franchise and have become an iconic brand since their inception. Paul’s service to the organization, in every capacity, is a big reason for that success. I also look forward to working more directly with Dave as we strive to achieve our goal of bringing the Stanley Cup back to Philadelphia.”