The Columbus Blue Jackets today announced the hiring of longtime National Hockey League executive, Hall of Fame broadcaster and former goaltender John Davidson as the club’s president of hockey operations. In a newly created role, Davidson will oversee all hockey operations activities for the organization and serve as an alternate governor to the NHL’s Board of Governors. He signed a multi-year contract with the club.
“This is a very exciting day for the Columbus Blue Jackets and our fans as John Davidson is a proven winner who brings a tremendous amount of experience, knowledge and leadership to our organization,” said Blue Jackets Majority Owner John P. McConnell. “We believe he is the perfect person to lead our hockey operations efforts.”
Davidson joins the Blue Jackets after serving as the president of hockey operations of the St. Louis Blues for the past six years. He arrived in St. Louis following the 2005-06 season in which the club posted a 21-46-15 record and 57 points. During his tenure, the Blues averaged 39 wins and 90 points per season and posted a 168-118-42 mark over the past four campaigns with a pair of appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 2011-12, the Blues went 49-22-11 and captured their first Central Division championship since 1999-2000. The club’s 109 points were tied with the New York Rangers for the second-most in the NHL (Vancouver, 111) and represented the second-highest total in Blues history (114 in 1999-2000).
“This is a very happy day for our family. I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve seen here from the organization to the facilities, the city and an ownership and management group that is committed to building a winner,” said Davidson. “As we looked at everything it became very clear that this was a perfect fit for us and we are proud to be Columbus Blue Jackets.”
Davidson, 59, is one of hockey’s most respected figures and has enjoyed a long and distinguished career that spans four decades. Prior to his successful stint with the Blues, he was the longtime analyst for New York Rangers games on Madison Square Garden Network (MSG), as well as various NHL national broadcast partners in the United States and Canada during an award-winning broadcast career that spanned two decades.
In 2009, he received the prestigious Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster by The Hockey Hall of Fame and was inducted on Nov. 9, 2009. The NHL and USA Hockey honored Davidson with the Lester Patrick Award for his contributions to ice hockey in the United States in March 2004. He also won two New York Emmy Awards for “Outstanding On-Camera Achievement” in 2001 and 1995 and was part of MSG’s Rangers broadcast team that won the CableACE Award for “Outstanding Live Event Coverage” in 1994.
Davidson began his broadcast career with MSG in 1983 and then spent two years on the popular “Hockey Night in Canada” from 1984-86. He rejoined MSG prior to the 1986-87 season, beginning a partnership with Rangers play-by-play announcer Sam Rosen that concluded following the 2005-06 season.
During that time, Davidson also served as NBC’s analyst for the NHL All-Star Game from 1990-93 and was lead analyst for the network’s hockey coverage at the 1992 (Albertville, France), 1994 (Lillehammer, Norway), 1998 (Nagano, Japan), 2002 (Salt Lake City) and 2006 (Torino, Italy) Winter Olympic Games. He worked for TBS at the 1990 Goodwill Games, contributed to ABC’s coverage of the NHL in 1994 and served on the number-one broadcast team with Mike Emrick for FOX’s coverage of the NHL regular season, All-Star Games and Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals from 1995-1999.
In addition, his work included several All-Star Games and Stanley Cup Finals for OLN, ESPN and SportsChannel, the 1991 Canada Cup for “Hockey Night in Canada” and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey for FX. He served as ESPN’s studio analyst for the 1993 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 2005-06 season marked his final season in the broadcast booth on OLN (now NBC Sports Network) and NBC.
Davidson was the Blues’ first pick, fifth overall, in the 1973 NHL Draft. That year, he became the first goaltender to go directly from junior hockey to the NHL as he appeared in 39 games with St. Louis during the 1973-74 season. After two years with the Blues, he joined the Rangers in June 1975 and went on to play eight seasons in New York before injuries forced him to retire during the 1982-83 campaign. In 1978-79, he went 20-15-4 with a 3.52 goals-against average in 39 games and then went 11-7 with a 2.28 goals-against average in 18 playoff games to lead the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Davidson was born on Feb. 27, 1953 in Ottawa, Ontario and raised in Calgary, Alberta. He and his wife, Diana, are the parents of two daughters, Lindsay and Ashley.
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