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Canucks Daily: Abbotsford Goalie Coach Change, First Black NHL GM

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Vancouver Canucks, Curtis Sanford
Goaltender Curtis Sanford warming up with the Vancouver Canucks in 2008.

There was some groundbreaking news within a Toronto Maple Leafs press release Tuesday morning as well as confirmation that Curtis Sanford, goalie coach for the Vancouver Canucks at the American Hockey League level, has left to join the Maple Leafs as their goalie coach in the big show.

Sanford played a season-and-half in net as a back-up for the Vancouver Canucks from the start of the 2007-’08 season until he was waived in January of 2009. He finished his playing career in Russia in 2015 and spent just last season as the Abbotsford goalie consultant before moving on.

No replacement has been named. The news follows multiple changes to the Vancouver Canucks bench announced Friday by General Manager Patrik Allvin, including new Abbotsford Canucks Head Coach Jeremy Colliton.

Those Breaking Ground #1

Well, sort of groundbreaking, in that the Vancouver Canucks beat the Maple Leafs to the punch with the hiring of Emilie Castonguay and Cammi Granato as female assistant general managers. Now Toronto has made it official with the promotion of Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser to that position along with Ryan Hardy and Darryl Metcalf. Wickenheiser had been working in player development with the club.

Breaking Ground #2

This is the real deal. Mike Grier, a former college hockey stand-out at Boston University and a veteran of 1,060 NHL regular season games with a total of four different clubs, is being named the new general manager of the San Jose Sharks this morning, becoming the first African American named to such a position. He played three full seasons with the Sharks from 2006-’09.

Nothing like jumping into the fire, two days before the NHL Draft and without a coaching staff. Bob Boughner and associates were relieved of their jobs last week.

Breaking Ground #3

Back to the ladies. Jessica Campbell has been named an assistant coach for the Coachella Valley Firebirds of the American Hockey League and will be the first woman behind a bench at that level. She will carry out duties under the guidance of head coach Dan Bylsma, who among other things was the head coach of the 2009 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Firebirds are the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken.

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