A familiar face in the area graced Chargers Camp on Friday as Brian Burke, the architect of the 2007 Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks as the team's general manager, took in practice as a guest of GM Tom Telesco.
Currently President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames, Burke has also served as GM of the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs. His friendship with Telesco dates back nearly two decades, when the pair was introduced by former Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian.
However, the visit to training camp wasn't just personal. It was also about business.
"It's like a GM think tank, Telesco said. "We can't really call NFL teams to get tips or different ideas, but there is a lot of carryover (to how to do things) in professional sports. How you scout. How you evaluate players. Health and safety for players. There is a lot you can get out of talking to other GMs, and learning different ideas and how to do things. To me, Brian is the Bill Polian of the NHL. So to have the chance to (to have him here today) was great."
"There are a lot of similarities, and a lot we can learn," Burke said, echoing Telesco's sentiments. "Our goal in Calgary isn't to be the best team in the NHL. It's to be the best team in professional sports, especially in terms of best practices. I find Tom to be very bright and very progressive. I love talking to him."
While the pair hadn't seen each other in person in a number of years, they quickly picked up where they left off.
"Right away we went into how he chose his draft picks. What did they do to scout them. We went right into the technical side of scouting. Again, Tom is very bright and progressive. I've learned something every time I've gone to an NFL training camp, and I expect the same here."
Burke had great success in Anaheim, and believes the Bolts have what it takes to succeed in Los Angeles.
"On the field success is going to be important, but with the Spanos' reputation in California and with what they do in the community, I think they are going to be in good shape in this market. And Tom clearly understands what it takes to be successful on the field."