Canucks hire Allvin as 12th general manager in team history

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Patrick Allvin is the first Swede and second European to be named general manager of an NHL team.

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After months of rumors, Patrik Allvin is finally, officially, the man of Jim Rutherford.

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Rutherford, president of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks, named Allvin its general manager on Wednesday, ending weeks of speculation over who would fill the role after Jim Benning was fired as the team’s general manager. at the beginning of December.

Rutherford told the media during a Zoom session on Wednesday that he spoke to many people in his search for the next Canucks general manager.

The new president said from the start that he wanted to build a diverse bench of senior leaders, people he knew and people he didn’t know. People who came from different backgrounds. People who deserved a chance. Earlier this week, he hired the second woman to be hired by an NHL team as assistant general manager, Émilie Castonguay. Last week, he joined the club’s analysis team by signing Rachel Doerrie. He pointed out that the two women and Allvin fit his plan to build a new front office.

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A native of Leksand, Sweden, Allvin is the first Swede and second European to hold an NHL general manager title. (Jarmo Kekäläinen from Columbus, a Finn is the first.)

Allvin had worked for the Pittsburgh Penguins as an assistant general manager and briefly served as interim general manager last season after Rutherford resigned from the Pens.

Rutherford has interviewed five people in person over the past week to take over as chief executive. But in the end, he left with a face he knew well. Allvin, he said, interviewed the best of all candidates.

“Patrick stood out. And he’s a very smart guy. He knows the players. He knows how to assess players. He knows how to find players. It is well connected in Europe, where we would like to penetrate this market a little more and try to bring some players out of it. And he just has a lot of good things going for him and like I said, we already have a working relationship. We know how it’s going to be,” Rutherford said.

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He also said Allvin had handled all aspects of hockey management over the years, though his duties were mostly centered around scouting.

Allvin said it was an honor to work again with Rutherford, who he worked with for many years in Pittsburgh, but also to join the Canucks, a team with a long connection to Sweden.

“I think it’s a great day for Swedish hockey and the European side of the game,” he said. “I think Vancouver was extremely lucky to have a lot of European players. Obviously it’s a big day for me, I’m really honored and proud to be the first (Swedish NHL General Manager). »

He met the Sedins last week for lunch and, after two hours of discussion, came away very impressed.

“What they said about culture and identity and norms is something I believe in too,” he said.

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Allvin will have the final say, insisted Rutherford. He may be involved in some of the most important decisions, but in the end, Allvin has the title of general manager and has the responsibilities of the general manager. He will need to do further player and staff assessments and work with his management team to plan a course ahead.

“That’s Patrick’s job. He is the general manager. He has to work hard and he has to make those decisions,” Rutherford said firmly.

“I know how detailed and competitive it is,” Allvin said of Rutherford. “He’s always forward-thinking and he’s really empowered his staff.”

Allvin, no doubt, put in the work. He is 47 years old and played professional hockey before becoming a scout with the Montreal Canadiens in 2002. He was hired by Pittsburgh in 2006 as a European scout. He was named European Scout Leader in 2012, then Director of Amateur Scouting in 2017. He was promoted to Assistant General Manager for the Penguins in 2020.

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“You have to be open-minded in finding talent,” he said of his scouting philosophy. “You have to trust your scouting team and the people who work for you.”

He echoed what Rutherford mentioned before, that he was hoping to add players from Europe and the NCAA to shore up the organization’s depth roster.

Pittsburgh has done well in developing depth players in the AHL. Allvin said turning AHL Abbotsford into an operation with similar success would be one of his priorities. Some players move quickly to the NHL, but some may take a little while.

“It’s something we want to emphasize in the future,” he said. “It’s not a sprint to make the NHL, it’s a marathon.”

A well-traveled player, Allvin played two seasons in North America for the ECHL’s Nashville Knights and the Pensacola Ice Pilots, with brief cups of coffee for the Atlanta Knights and the Quebec Rafales of the Quebec City. former IHL. In his native Sweden he traveled extensively, dressing for Arvika HC, IK Vita Hasten, Bodens IK, Mora IK, Leksands IF and Sparta Sarpsborg.

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He impressed many on his travels as a scout and manager.

Markus Näslund took care of Allvin a decade ago, when the former Canucks captain went into management with Modo Hockey, his hometown team in Örnsköldsvik, and Allvin was looking for players Swedish for the Penguins.

“I have a lot of respect for the way he behaves and for his goal. He is very professional and has a lot of integrity,” Näslund said.

A scout, who wished to remain anonymous, echoed Näslund’s analysis.

“I think he’s another solid recruit. There is now a very unique and diverse group of decision makers in place to lead this team. When a leadership core is made up of all different backgrounds, you are able to elevate your strategic thinking,” he said.

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