Cliff Fletcher

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Cliff Fletcher
Cliff Fletcher.jpg
Fletcher in 2009
George Clifford Fletcher

(1935-08-16) August 16, 1935 (age 83)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
OccupationSenior Advisor to the Toronto Maple Leafs (2008–present)
Known forFormer National Hockey League executive and general manager (Calgary Flames, Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs)
ChildrenChuck Fletcher
Kristy Fletcher
AwardsHockey Hall of Fame (2004)

George Clifford "Cliff" Fletcher (born August 16, 1935) is a National Hockey League executive and is a former general manager of the Atlanta Flames/Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Phoenix Coyotes. He is currently a Senior Advisor to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Some of his nicknames are the "Silver Fox"[1] and "Trader Cliff".[2]


Early positions[edit]

Fletcher started his career in 1956 for the Montreal Canadiens as a scout under Sam Pollock, then later became the General Manager of the Verdun Blues junior team.

He joined the expansion St. Louis Blues in 1966 as a scout for Eastern Canada worked his way up to the assistant GM position. With Fletcher's help, the Blues advanced to the Stanley Cup finals in each of their first three years, a feat unmatched to this day.

Fletcher's general manager career started in the Central Hockey League with the Kansas City Blues when he was awarded the top job in January 1971 during a mid-season shake-up that also saw John Choyce appointed as the team's new head coach.[3] In 1972, he accepted the opportunity to run an NHL team when offered the GM position in Atlanta.


Fletcher joined the newly minted expansion Atlanta Flames team as General Manager, remaining with the Flames in that capacity through and after the team's move to Calgary, Alberta in 1980. Over the next 10 years, he oversaw the Calgary Flames to two Smythe division titles, two Clarence S. Campbell Bowls as Campbell Conference Champions, and two Presidents' Trophies, given to the team with the best NHL Regular season record. During his tenure in Calgary, he was the first GM to bring a player from the Soviet Union when Sergei Priakin played in 1988. The Flames won the Stanley Cup Championship in 1989 against the Montreal Canadiens.

He also served as the GM of Team Canada for the 1981 Canada Cup.

Maple Leafs[edit]

Fletcher moved to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1991, to serve as Chief Operating Officer, President and General Manager. He made a blockbuster trade with Doug Risebrough, his successor as the Flames' General Manager, sending Gary Leeman, Michel Petit, Jeff Reese, Craig Berube, and Alexander Godynyuk to the Flames for Doug Gilmour, Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Rick Wamsley and Kent Manderville on January 2, 1992. That year, Fletcher also hired Pat Burns as head coach for the upcoming season.

The positive impact on the Toronto team was immediate. During the 1992–93 season, his second year as GM, the Leafs set team records with wins (44) and points (99), while Gilmour emerged as a superstar and scored a franchise-high 127 points. During the postseason awards ceremony, Gilmour finished as runner-up for the Hart Trophy and won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as best defensive forward, while Burns won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year; the first major NHL individual awards that Leaf players had won since 1967. Fletcher himself was named as the "Man of the Year" and the "Executive of the Year" by The Hockey News in 1993. The Leafs reached the conference finals in 1993 and 1994 - the only team in the NHL to make it that far in the playoffs in both seasons and the only one of the seven teams from those two years to not make a Stanley Cup Final since expansion.

He remained with the Toronto Maple Leafs for six seasons before retiring to Florida.


In 1999, Fletcher joined the Tampa Bay Lightning as Senior Advisor to the GM for two seasons at the request of Jacques Demers, then Tampa's coach and GM. When Demers left the franchise in 1999, so did Fletcher.


Fletcher joined the Phoenix Coyotes on February 17, 2001 as General Manager and Executive Vice-President. On August 28, 2001, he passed his GM role to Mike Barnett and became Senior Executive Vice-President of Hockey Operations.

On April 11, 2007, Fletcher and General Manager Mike Barnett were fired after the Coyotes finished the 2006–07 season with its worst record since relocating from Winnipeg to Phoenix in 1996.

Return to Toronto[edit]

Fletcher was officially named the interim general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 22, 2008, replacing John Ferguson Jr. [1] Fletcher signed a nineteen-month contract with the franchise; serving as GM for six months before becoming an executive for the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment organization. He was replaced as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs by Brian Burke.

Team President Richard Peddie announced that Fletcher would likely be the general manager through the 2008–09 NHL season,[4] although it was later announced on November 27, 2008 that Brian Burke had agreed to a six-year contract as the Maple Leafs' GM.[5] Fletcher served the remainder of his contract with the Maple Leafs as an adviser for the Maple Leafs management team. During the off season of 2009, Fletcher signed a multi-year contract extension.

Hockey Hall of Fame[edit]

Fletcher spent 7 years on the Hockey Hall of Fame Board of Directors, having stepped down in 2002-03. He also spent time on the Hall of Fame selection committee. In 2004, he was selected to the HHOF as a builder and was inducted on November 8, 2004.


Fletcher's son Chuck Fletcher served as the General Manager of the Minnesota Wild from 2009 to 2018 and was named General Manager of the Philadelphia Flyers on December 3, 2018. He previously served as Assistant General Manager of the Florida Panthers and Director of Hockey Operations of the Anaheim Ducks. He has a daughter Kristy who resides In Toronto and previously worked for MlLSE.


  1. ^ "The second time around for Fletcher". Toronto Star. Toronto. February 16, 2008. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  2. ^ "Fletcher, Cliff - Honoured Builder". Legends of Hockey. August 16, 1935. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  3. ^ Major Shake-up At Kansas City - Windsor Star - Jan 12, 1971
  4. ^ "Peddie: Fletcher to be Leafs' GM till '09". Toronto Star. June 11, 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  5. ^ "Burke agrees to terms of contract with Maple Leafs". TSN. November 27, 2008. Retrieved November 27, 2008.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Position created
General Manager of the Atlanta/Calgary Flames
Succeeded by
Doug Risebrough
Preceded by
Floyd Smith
General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Succeeded by
Ken Dryden
Preceded by
Bobby Smith
General Manager of the Phoenix Coyotes
Succeeded by
Mike Barnett
Preceded by
John Ferguson, Jr.
Interim General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Succeeded by
Brian Burke