It's a new day in Cleveland.
The Blue Jackets have completed sweeping changes to the leadership of the Monsters, their AHL affiliate. GM Jarmo Kekalainen now has a new general manager and a new head coach in Cleveland, with the Monsters having made the Calder Cup Playoffs for only the first time in three seasons.
Chris Clark, who was recently promoted to director of player personnel in Columbus, has been named GM of the Monsters, succeeding Bill Zito. Zito was promoted to senior vice president and alternate governor last week. Clark, 43, has spent the last seven years as part of the Blue Jackets' player development operation.
“Bill Zito did an outstanding job as general manager of the Monsters, highlighted by the team’s Calder Cup championship in 2016,” Kekalainen said in a statement. “But with the additional responsibilities Bill now has with our club, and having someone like Chris Clark ready for this opportunity, the time was right to make these changes.”
And the Monsters also named Mike Eaves as their new head coach. Eaves, 63, spent 14 seasons leading the University of Wisconsin's successful men's hockey program and won a national championship in 2006. He spent 2016-19 behind the bench of Division III St. Olaf's in Minnesota. Eaves' son, Patrick, currently plays for the Anaheim Ducks.
The elder Eaves also served as head coach of the 2004 U.S. World Junior team, which won the country's first-ever gold medal at the tournament.
“Mike Eaves has won an NCAA championship, world junior championship gold medal and developed numerous players that have gone on to play in the National Hockey League over the course of his 30-year coaching career,” Clark said. “He brings great passion and experience to our organization and I am looking forward to working closely with him to develop our players and bring the Calder Cup back to Cleveland.”