July 13 2016
Bill Foley introduced George McPhee as the first General Manager in franchise history today at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, saying simply, “You’re the GM.”
After a “pretty exhausting search” where Foley and assistant Murray Craven interviewed seven candidates, they spent roughly two days each with three finalists. Foley said he was looking for “a guy who was dedicated, focused and with a take no prisoners attitude… and I found that person… George McPhee is our guy.”
Opening with a round of thanks to his former employers in New York, Tom Renney with Hockey Canada, and to Bill and Carol Foley “who have done the unimaginable in delivering an NHL franchise to Las Vegas,” his tenure had officially begun.
Expressing his vision for the team McPhee made it crystal clear. “Our mission here is clear, we are going to build an organization and a team that the people here in Nevada and Las Vegas will be very, very proud of. We’re going to do it quickly and we’re aiming at the Stanley Cup. It’s that simple.” He made it very obvious throughout the day his passion for the game and for the job in front of him was at full capacity.
When looking ahead to the expansion draft next June, he seemed optimistic that there would be some quality players available to him. “We have an opportunity that expansion teams in the past haven’t had, to get better players.” He plans to build an exciting, fast roster from day one. “We will play a brand of hockey that people will like, I’ve never enjoyed that sitting back style of hockey. We’ll be a team that’s attacking all the time and pressuring the puck all over the ice.” McPhee said. “You have to have talent, size, leadership and depth to win and players who want to show up and compete every day to win. It’s a process. You have to develop that culture and if you do, the results will be there.” This blueprint sounds taylor made for Las Vegas.
We asked McPhee whether he had thought about the challenges in building that culture in a non traditional market when it is tough to do in the traditional markets he said “The buzz here has been phenomenal. They’re going to love this game and they’re going to love these players… I’ve learned a lot over the years about culture, vision, and the process and it’s about having the right roots and letting them grow deep. When you do that, you’ll get rewarded.”
In a moment that showcased his desire to win and a sense of humor, George was asked by Sin Bin’s Ken Boehlke about his son being drafted into the Pacific Division in last months entry draft. McPhee said simply “Keep your head up son.”
After a 17 year run with the Washington Capitals, McPhee is eyeing a fresh start here in Las Vegas. With a clean slate in front of him, the fire that obviously still burns inside of him, and 23 years of front office experience in the NHL behind him, the future just got brighter in Las Vegas.