The Toronto Predators will have a new look next season, starting at the very top. The Predators have been purchased by former Hamilton Red Wings general manager Robert Turnbull. He will also serve as team president, general manager, and coach.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” Turnbull said. “It’s an opportunity to be a part of something special and continue to do something I love.”
Turnbull brings with him an impressive resume from his 15 years in Hamilton, leaving behind a large group of players that have been impacted by his career.
“What I’m trying to do is to put together a premiere product that will help kids advance to the next level,” Turnbull said. “It’s an opportunity to teach and for kids to learn. Education will be paramount.”
Turnbull joined the Hamilton Kilty Bees in 1999 as the club’s general manager, remaining with the team when it rebranded as the Hamilton Red Wings in 2003. He served as general manager and team president of the Red Wings until 2014. During his time with Hamilton, Turnbull had the opportunity to recruit and manage many players who would go on to the professional, major junior, and university ranks.
In total, 40 players from Turnbull’s tenure have gone on the pros, with four making their NHL debuts during 2013-14. NHL Players such as Zac Rinaldo (Philadelphia Flyers), Cam Talbot (New York Rangers), Spencer Abbott (Toronto Maple Leafs), Matt Carey (Chicago Blackhawks), and Peter Leblanc (Washington Capitals) were recruited by Turnbull and spent time with the Red Wings. Another 26 players have played major junior hockey, and 115 have played hockey in university, either in the NCAA or CIS.
Of course, it would be impossible to have this kind of success without a terrific staff supporting him.
“You’re only as good as the people you have around you,” Turnbull said. “In Hamilton, I was surrounded by great people. I had great times with the Red Wings, but it’s not about the Red Wings anymore. Now I’m looking to put together a solid staff (for the Predators).”
With over 35 years of experience and a winning attitude, Turnbull looks to turn around a Predators team that went 5-34-3 in 2013-14 and make the Toronto Predators synonymous with not only winning, but with a tradition of excellence throughout all levels of hockey.
-By Glen Cuthbert