It's not every day that both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Jokerit in Finland's SM-liiga call simultaneous press conferences. It's also not every day that Jokerit's general manager is expected to be named to the same post with the struggling NHL franchise.
It's all happening Wednesday, when at 9:30 a.m. ET, Columbus is expected to name Jarmo Kekäläinen the third general manager in franchise history. He would become the first European GM in league history.
Kekäläinen played college hockey at Clarkson University in upstate New York before playing 55 games in the NHL with Ottawa and Boston in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He's held front office roles in the NHL with both the Senators and St. Louis Blues, where he was the director of amateur scouting and worked closely with current CBJ director of hockey ops John Davidson. He returned to Finland to run Jokerit in 2010.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to terms on a multi-year contract with Jarmo Kekalainen to serve as the club’s general manager, Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations John Davidson announced today. Kekalainen, who has been the president and general manager of Jokerit in the Finnish Elite League since 2010, becomes the third general manager in Blue Jackets history.
“Hockey is a truly global game and there are very few people whose knowledge of the game in North America and abroad surpasses that of Jarmo Kekalainen,” said Davidson. “He is intelligent, hard-working and a tremendous evaluator of talent. He is a terrific addition to the Blue Jackets family and will play an important role in our efforts to move our organization forward in the coming years.”
Kekalainen (pronounced kehk-uh-LIE-nehn) spent eight seasons with the St. Louis Blues from 2002-10 before joining Jokerit. He most recently served as the club’s assistant general manager and director of amateur scouting and was involved in all facets of hockey operations, including professional scouting efforts and overseeing the club’s amateur scouting and draft preparations. During his eight years in St. Louis, the Blues drafted players such as David Backes, Roman Polak, David Perron, T.J. Oshie, Patrick Berglund and Alex Pietrangelo.
This point has been edited by JacketsFan18: 13 February 2013 - 09:37 AM