The Calgary Flames have two very large holes in their organization right now: one is their next head coach and the other is their next general manager. The organization has said that it will be the incoming GM who picks the coach, but have not yet announced a timeline for getting that position filled. There are a lot of names swirling around the rumour mill for who could fill this role—some internal candidates and some external candidates are for sure on the list. One of the dark horse names that is almost certainly in the conversation is Assistant General Manager Brad Pascall. Pascall has been in the organization for nearly a decade and has all of the right experience for the job.
Who is Brad Pascall
Born in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Pascall is a former defenceman who played over 50 games in the AHL but never was able to break into the NHL ranks despite being drafted in the fifth-round of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. After spending four years in the NCAA with the University of North Dakota, he graduated with a degree in public relations and turned pro. However, he would only spend three years in the AHL and ECHL before transitioning over to the business side of the game.
Instead of starting with a team, Pascall would go on to work in the Team Canada system, serving as the senior director, men’s national teams and communications in 1995 then moving over to be the general manager of Team Canada for numerous teams over the years. He was further promoted to be the vice president of hockey operations and national teams in July 2010, and was responsible for all of Team Canada’s national teams. In his tenure, he played a role in Team Canada winning five IIHF World Junior Championships, three Olympic Gold Medals, two World Hockey Championship gold medals, and the 2003 World Cup of Hockey.
He would resign in 2014 to join the Flames as an AGM.
Brad Pascall’s history with the Flames
Since 2015, Pascall has been the AGM responsible for the Flames’ farm team, starting in Stockton, California with the Stockton Heat, and ending in Calgary with the Calgary Wranglers. In his time, he would be responsible for overseeing the move of the AHL franchise from Adirondack to Stockton as a new franchise—a charter member of the AHL’s Pacific Division. This included arranging for an arena deal in Stockton, recruitment of local staff, and more. They took over the Stockton Arena from the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder, who moved to upstate New York that season.
From there he would navigate the team to their first postseason appearance in 2016–17, through two really rough seasons in 2017–18 and 2018–19, then to their best season in Stockton which was cancelled due to the Pandemic. Pascall would oversee the team moving up to Calgary for the pandemic-shortened season in 2020–21, which would be the only season under him that the team finished below 0.500 on the ice.
Last season, the Heat finished first in the Pacific Division and went to the third round of the playoffs before losing to the Chicago Wolves in six games. They would then go on to finish first in the entire AHL this season, and [are currently in the first round of the playoffs, with a 2-0 edge over the Abbotsford Canucks].
Over his tenure, Pascall has worked with the Flames’ prospects that have been drafted and turned pro, but has also supplemented them with smart signings of veteran AHLers and some overseas talent that has worked out well for this team and the NHL club.
It is also worth noting the impact that he has had in the personell decisions around the Flames’ organization. Since he was hired, the Flames brought on Ryan Huska, Kirk Muller and Jason LaBarbera, all of whom worked under Pascall at Team Canada over the years.
Why would the Flames hire Brad Pascall?
It is clear that Pascall is already intimately familiar with the way that the organization works, and knows all of the key players in the organization. Having been part of bringing on a number of ex-Hockey Canada people, he has a good finger on the pulse and understands the franchise inside and out.
On top of that, he has a history of running multiple teams, having overseen the entire Hockey Canada portfolio for a few years. He also knows how to negotiate with municipal stakeholders, having negotiated with the City of Stockton around the opening and closing of the franchise.
Perhaps most importantly, if the Flames want to bring in more young players and build around their younger core, there is nobody who knows them better from a management level. Pascall has been directly responsible for the Flames’ farm team since 2015 and would know how to run the pipeline between the AHL and NHL.
Of course, all of this is premised on whether the Flames want an internal or external hire for their next GM. If they want to change the entire tone and tenor of the organization than hiring Pascall, who has been around the team for nearly a decade, is a non-starter.
While he has been around the hockey world a long time, he has spent a long time working with Brad Treliving and will likely have a view of the organization coloured by his past experience. That likely doesn’t point to a new way of running the team.
If the Flames do choose to go internal, hiring Pascall would be a smart move.
Calgary Flames GM Candidate Profiles
Check out our previous general manager candidate profiles here to get the full run-down on who Calgary should have considered and why they would be good or bad fits with the team: