Will Luukko's successor hold similar qualities?

Will Luukko's successor hold similar qualities?

Snider reacts to Luukko's resignation

December 3, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Moving Forward

Paul Holmgren said it took him a while to fully comprehend Peter Luukko’s resignation on Monday.

“He’s a very, very smart man,” Holmgren said at Xcel Energy Center. “Secondly, he was obviously a big hockey fan and a huge Flyers fan. He was always willing to do what was in the best interest of the Flyers. That will be missed.

“Hockey is in his blood, but he’s a very smart businessman. Whatever he decides to do, I am sure he will do well.”

Holmgren mentioned that Shawn Tilger, senior vice president of business operations, as someone who might be able to fill Luukko’s role as Flyers president, a title Luukko also had.

“There’s plenty of people on that side who can handle that,” Holmgren said. “I worked closely with Peter and closely with Mr. [Ed] Snider on the day-to-day operation of the team. That’s not really for me to decide.”

Flyers chairman Ed Snider said he would handle Luukko’s Flyers duties for now.

-Tim Panaccio

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- So the next time things get really tense between what club chairman and founding father Ed Snider sees on the ice and his general manager or coach, who is the buffer?

Who’s the guy that will calm the frayed nerves?

Peter Luukko was exactly that guy between ownership and management and coaching.

Who has the hockey background and business savvy that can speak to Snider one-on-one with near equal rank as a corporate executive respected worldwide, just like Snider?

The answer is no one.

“That might be far-fetched,” general manager Paul Holmgren said when asked about Luukko being a buffer. “In all my dealings with whatever we decide …

“I talked as much with Mr. Snider as I did with Peter. I don’t know if that is the case. I’m not sure if that’s relevant.”

And now Luukko’s departed, resigning abruptly Monday as Comcast-Spectacor president and Flyers president to pursue other entrepreneurial activities, according to Comcast-Spectacor (see story).

Even more to the point, what are the odds the next Flyers president is as involved in the player aspects -- trades and signings -- as Luukko was during his tenure?

Who is out there that has the kind of moxy and personality of Luukko, a guy who skated with the “7:15ers” every morning at Wells Fargo Center, to pull off coups like the Flyers appearing in two Winter Classic games just a few years apart?

Luukko had his hand firmly involved in every aspect of the Flyers' hockey club and was an active, forceful voice as a board of governor on league matters.

He was one of the guys that rescued -- for now -- the Phoenix Coyotes.

It’s entirely likely the next Flyer president will have little actual hockey background like Luukko and bring only business acumen to the job.

Put it this way, chances are the next Flyer president won’t be sitting at the draft table or even in the balcony box with Holmgren.

He may want to distance himself entirely from the team.

The next Flyers president won’t be the hockey guy -- he’ll be a Comcast guy.

It all changes.