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BriseBois all in for Norfolk job

by Lindsay Kramer ||

The way the turnstile has spun on the Norfolk general manager’s position the past few years, the job is primed for someone who is all in.

Hello, Julien BriseBois. The 33-year-old recently was named assistant GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning. One of his responsibilities is running the Admirals.

That job used to come with a merry-go-round ticket. In a reflection of the Lightning’s management instability, the Admirals have had three general managers the past three seasons.

The sample platter stops here, according to BriseBois. He didn’t ditch nine seasons of serious career-building in Montreal — his hometown team — for a less-successful Tampa Bay-Norfolk tandem just to make a cameo appearance in his new position.

"You only have one home. It’s hard to leave it," BriseBois said. "It was a very difficult decision. I’m leaving behind my home, my (extended) family, a fabulous organization. But I was kind of at a crossroads. Usually the most challenging decision is the most rewarding. I knew that eventually it would come to this at some point in my career."

BriseBois, who most recently was GM of Montreal’s AHL affiliate in Hamilton, said he felt he had to break free from the Canadiens to improve his odds of career advancement. With Tampa Bay, he joins a cast of similarly adventurous souls who have the look of long-termers on the project.

New Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman didn’t snip his career-long Detroit ties for a short-term stopover, and new Lightning coach Guy Boucher — who worked with BriseBois with the Bulldogs last season — isn’t going to step into his first NHL coaching job with anything but unbridled commitment.

"I plan on being here for a while. We’re going to work to establish a culture that will be instituted in Tampa and seep all the way to Norfolk," BriseBois said. "The second step will be to ensure a certain presence in Norfolk, so that they (the players) don’t feel like they are being sent to the AHL and forgotten. They are not getting one message one year and then another message the next. When they know what’s expected of them, most players want to succeed."

Lindsay Kramer is the AHL correspondent for Read today’s complete column here.