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Davidson named Rangers president

Resigns from Blue Jackets; had been goalie, broadcaster with New York @NHLdotcom

John Davidson was named New York Rangers president on Friday.

Davidson had resigned as president of hockey operations and alternate governor of the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier in the day.

"I am excited and humbled to be named the president of the New York Rangers," Davidson said. "The opportunity of rejoining the Rangers organization and returning home to New York, where my family and I have spent so many wonderful years, was one I simply could not pass up. I want to thank (Rangers CEO) James Dolan for offering me this chance to come home. I would also like to thank (Blue Jackets owner) John P. McConnell for the opportunity to join the Blue Jackets organization in 2012, his guidance, support and friendship over the last seven years, and for allowing my family and me to embark on this new journey with the Rangers. Additionally, I would like to thank the St. Louis Blues organization for giving me an opportunity to join their front office in 2006 and spend six fantastic years there."

Davidson, 66, replaces Glen Sather, who had been president since 2000 but transitioned to senior adviser and alternate governor on April 4.

"Today is the start of a new and exciting chapter in New York Rangers history," Dolan said. "John Davidson is one of the premier executives in the National Hockey League. As we continue to build a team that can consistently compete for the Stanley Cup, John's knowledge of the game and his experience and passion for the Rangers logo make him the ideal choice to oversee our hockey operations department. I am thrilled to welcome 'JD' and his family home."

The Rangers (32-36-14) finished 20 points behind the Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs and missed the postseason for the second straight season. However they have the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, plus the No. 20 selection, acquired in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets. They also have two second-round picks.

Davidson was named president of hockey operations and alternate governor of the Blue Jackets on Oct. 24, 2012. During his tenure, the Blue Jackets went 285-209-46 and won at least 45 games in each of the past three seasons, including a Columbus-best 50-24-8 in 2016-17. 

The Blue Jackets advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time this season. They were defeated by the Boston Bruins in six games in the Eastern Conference Second Round after sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won the Presidents' Trophy this season, in the first round.

"When we hired John Davidson in October 2012, I said I thought he was the perfect person to lead our hockey operations efforts," McConnell said. "Nearly seven years later I believe I was right. He joined our team at a very difficult time and led a transformation that has resulted in consistent winning and appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. [Davidson] is a man of great character and compassion and I completely understand his interest in the unique opportunity before him. I know leaving Columbus is a difficult decision for him as he has a genuine love of our community and organization, but the possibility of returning to his roots in New York, where he spent three decades as a player and broadcaster, is an extraordinary circumstance for him and his family."

Prior to joining the Blue Jackets, Davidson had spent six seasons (2006-12) as Blues president of hockey operations.

A former goalie, Davidson was selected by St. Louis with the No. 5 pick in the 1973 NHL Draft and played 10 seasons in the League, including eight with the Rangers, who acquired him in a trade with the Blues on June 18, 1975.

Davidson was 123-124 with 39 ties in 301 NHL games and led New York to the 1979 Stanley Cup Final, where the Rangers lost in five games to the Montreal Canadiens.

After his retirement as an NHL player because of injuries in 1983, Davidson had a successful second career as a broadcaster, working as a TV analyst for the Rangers on the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Network for more than 20 seasons. Davidson also worked as an analyst for Hockey Night in Canada, NBC, TBS, ABC, FOX and ESPN.

He received the 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 hockey in the United States in 2004.

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