We thought this may be coming.
Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations John Davidson resigned Friday to take a similar role with the New York Rangers, the team he spent parts of eight seasons in the crease for and 20 more in the broadcast booth calling Rangers games.
“I have come to love this organization and the city,” Davidson said in a statement released Friday. “There was only one opportunity that I would’ve considered leaving for, and the one before me now is that opportunity as I spent 30 years with the Rangers as a player and broadcaster and have strong ties to that team and the city of New York.”
“I am extremely proud of the work we’ve done over the past seven years and know that one of the challenges before me now will be competing against this group moving forward. On behalf of my wife, Diana, and our family, I offer my sincerest thanks and gratitude to all of you for allowing us to be Blue Jackets and call Columbus home.”
Davidson was hired by the Blue Jackets in October of 2012 and immediately set out to change the culture of the franchise, making key hires like current general manager Jarmo Kekalainen five months after he arrived. The Blue Jackets made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in four of the six seasons since Kekalainen's arrival and advanced to the second round of the postseason for the first time in club history with a sweep of the Presidents' Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning last month.
Kekalianen was named alternate governor of the club today in a statement from team president Mike Priest:
The New York Rangers recently sought permission from our organization to speak with John Davidson about serving as their team president. That permission was granted and today John has resigned his position as the president of hockey operations and alternate governor with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Personally, I want to thank J.D. for his friendship and the many contributions that he and his wife, Diana, have made to the Blue Jackets and throughout our community. He helped us forge a winning culture based on preparation, hard work, accountability and honesty. He set the tone and hired talented people that put in place a plan to build the Blue Jackets through the draft and player development with the end goal being a team that could compete and have success at the highest-level on a yearly basis.
The winning culture that now is entrenched in all of us will continue under the direction of Jarmo Kekalainen, who will now serve as an alternate governor in addition to general manager, and the leaders within our hockey operations department. We remain committed to improving on the successes we've had in recent seasons with the goal of bringing a Stanley Cup championship to Columbus.
Blue Jackets owner and governor John P. McConnell thanked Davidson for his work in Columbus and wished him well in a separate statement released by the team:
When we hired John Davidson in October 2012, I said I thought he was the perfect person to lead our hockey operations efforts. 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. J.D. 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.
On behalf of my family, our ownership group and the entire Blue Jackets organization, I want to thank J.D. and wish him, Diana and their family nothing but the best in the years to come.
With Kekalainen filling the alternate governor's role, the Blue Jackets are not expected to fill Davidson's position, who served as the only President of Hockey Operations in Blue Jackets history.