COLUMBUS, OHIO --- The Columbus Blue Jackets announced today that General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen has been named assistant general manager for Team Finland in advance of the 2014 Olympic Games to be held in February in Sochi, Russia. Team Finland’s general manager is hockey hall of famer Jari Kurri.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with Jari Kurri, Head Coach Erkka Westerlund and the Finnish Ice Hockey Association at next year’s Olympic Games in Sochi,” said Kekalainen, a native of Tampere, Finland. “Representing your country at the Olympics is a tremendous honor, so this is a very proud moment for my family and I.”
Kekalainen was named the third general manager in Columbus Blue Jackets history on February 13, 2013, becoming the first European-born general manager in NHL history. He joined the club after serving as the president and general manager of Jokerit in the Finnish Elite League since 2010. Prior to his stint with Jokerit, he spent eight seasons with the St. Louis Blues from 2002-10, including three as director of amateur scouting and five as assistant general manager and director of amateur scouting. He was a member of the Ottawa Senators hockey operations department from 1995 to 2002 and also served as general manager of IFK Helsinki in the Finnish Elite League from 1995 to 1999 and led the club to the league championship in 1998.
As a player, Kekalainen appeared in 55 career NHL games with the Senators and Boston Bruins during a six-year career. A left wing, he scored five goals and added eight assists for 13 points with 28 penalty minutes, including a career-high 1-5-6 and 14 penalty minutes in 28 games with the Senators during the 1993-94 season. He also played in the American Hockey League and his native Finland before wrapping up his playing career with Vasteras IK in the Swedish Elite League in 1994-95. He also played two seasons at Clarkson University from 1987-89, earning Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference First All-Star Team honors in 1988-89. He also represented Finland at the 1986 World Junior Championships and the 1991 Canada Cup Tournament.
The Blue Jackets return to action this weekend for a home-and-home series with the Pittsburgh Penguins – Friday at CONSOL Energy Center and Saturday at Nationwide Arena. Both games start at 7pm ET. Live coverage of both games on FOX Sports Ohio HD begins with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show starting at 6:30 p.m. The games will also be broadcast live on the Columbus Blue Jackets Radio Network, including flagship station Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan in Columbus, and online at BlueJackets.com.