The Columbus Blue Jackets announced today that longtime NHL executive Don Waddell has agreed to a multi-year contract to serve as the club’s president of hockey operations, general manager and alternate governor. The club also announced that John Davidson, who has been the club’s president of hockey operations for 10 of the past 12 years, has agreed to serve as a senior advisor and alternate governor. Waddell will be introduced at a press conference on Wednesday.

“To our fans, we remain committed to providing all the necessary resources to build a team and organization that competes for the Stanley Cup,” said Blue Jackets Majority Owner and Governor John P. McConnell. “After spending time getting to know Don, I believe his experience and leadership will take us down the path to success.”

Waddell has spent the past 10 years with the Hurricanes, serving as team president from 2014-18 and as team president and general manager since 2018. Over the past six seasons, Carolina has compiled a 278-130-44 record to rank second in the NHL in points percentage (.664; Boston - .695) and third in wins (Boston-289, Tampa Bay-283). The Hurricanes have won three division titles (2021-Central, 2022 and 2023-Metropolitan), advanced to the Stanley Cup Playoffs each year and earned trips to the Eastern Conference Finals twice (2019, 2023) during that time. Prior to his taking over as general manager, Carolina had missed the playoffs in 11 of the 12 previous seasons.

“Don Waddell is one of the most experienced and respected executives in our sport with over four decades of experience as a player, scout, head coach, general manager and team president,” said Blue Jackets President and Alternate Governor Mike Priest. “Most recently, he has built the Carolina Hurricanes into one of the winningest clubs in the National Hockey League. Don has every attribute we were looking for when this process began, and we are thrilled to have him lead our hockey operations efforts.”

Waddell began his NHL career in 1997-98 and won a Stanley Cup championship as an assistant general manager with the Detroit Red Wings. The following year, he joined the expansion Atlanta Thrashers as vice president of hockey operations and general manager and would serve in that role until 2010 when he was named team president. He also served as executive vice president and co-chair of the executive committee of the Atlanta Spirit, the parent company of the Thrashers, the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena. He then had a three-year stint as a consultant and pro scout with the Pittsburgh Penguins before arriving in Carolina in 2014.

“I’ve known Don for many years, and he is one of the great gentlemen in our business,” said Davidson. “He is a very smart, dedicated professional who has shown a great ability to bring people together to work towards a common goal and achieve success. I believe this is a great day for our organization and our fans.”

The Detroit, Michigan native also has served in several capacities with USA Hockey during his career. In 2013, he was named international consultant with a special focus on player identification and interface with the U.S. National Junior Team and USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. He served as general manager for Team USA at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, and at the 2001, 2002 and 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships. As a player, he helped Team USA to the gold medal at the 1983 IIHF World Championships.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join the Columbus Blue Jackets as this is an organization that has everything you need to have success at the highest level,” said Waddell. “It’s a wonderful city with passionate fans, strong ownership, first-class facilities, and a desire to be the best. I’d like to thank the McConnell family, Mike Priest and John Davidson for this opportunity, and look forward to being part of this community.”

Prior to embarking on his NHL management career, Waddell spent a decade as executive vice president and general manager of International Hockey League (IHL) franchises in San Diego (1990-95) and Orlando (1995-97) and was twice named IHL Executive of the Year (1992-93, 1995-96). In Orlando, he was vice president of RDV Sports and served on the executive committee that oversaw the NBA’s Orlando Magic, the IHL’s Orlando Solar Bears and the company’s retail and aviation interests.

Waddell played four seasons of Division I collegiate hockey as a defenseman and majored in business management at Northern Michigan University from 1976-80. He was a seventh-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings at the 1978 NHL Draft and spent three years with the organization. He went on to play parts of nine seasons as a professional, mostly in the IHL. He also served as head coach of the IHL’s San Diego Gulls in 1991-92 and was interim head coach of the Thrashers on two occasions (2002-03, 2007-08) during his tenure with the club.

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