Attention, Columbus Blue Jackets fans: there’s a new sheriff in town.
On Wednesday, John Davidson, formerly President of Hockey Operations for the St. Louis Blues, was named to the same position for the Blue Jackets. He singed a multi-year contract with the organization and will, in the words of Blue Jackets President Mike Priest, have “full authority and autonomy over the competition side of the business.”
“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 [my family] and we are proud to be Columbus Blue Jackets.”
This is not unfamiliar territory for Davidson. He arrived in the Blues organization in 2006 as it was sputtering badly, suffering from loss after loss and a place at the bottom of the Western Conference. By the time he left the club earlier this year, the roster had been re-energized, with a Central Division championship in 2000, a tie for the second-highest points total in the 2011-12 season and a record of 168-118-42 in his six-year tenure.
From the viewpoint of those outside the organization, Davidson is about to experience a major case of déjà vu.
How are others in the organization reacting to Davidson’s arrival?
“The first 10-15 minutes with him, I was like, ‘Wow, I really like this guy’,” said Blue Jackets majority owner John P. McConnell. “We’re looking forward to working with John as he helps accelerate us on the path to building an elite franchise.”
General Manager Scott Howson was optimistic about the addition of Davidson. “John’s hiring makes the team better; it makes the organization better. That’s the bottom line. That’s why we’re here, that’s what our goal is. There’s no downside to this for anybody. His arrival gives us instant credibility. It gives us more legitimacy.”
From his tone at the press conference, Davidson’s putting everyone on notice that the Blue Jackets mean business.
“We’re going to let the world know this is a world-class organization,” he said. “We won’t take a backseat to anybody.”