The Columbus Blue Jackets Fire General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen

The recent decision by the Columbus Blue Jackets to fire Jarmo Kekalainen, the longest-tenured general manager in the franchise’s history, has sent shockwaves through the hockey world. Kekalainen, who was hired in February 2013 and made history as the first European-born general manager in the NHL, has faced criticism for the team’s poor performance. With the Blue Jackets holding the worst record in the Eastern Conference and only making the playoffs once in recent years, the decision to part ways with Kekalainen was seen as necessary for the team to move forward.

During his time with the Blue Jackets, Kekalainen led the team to the playoffs five times but only managed to win a single playoff series. The highlight of his tenure was the surprising first-round upset of first-place Tampa Bay in 2019, where the Blue Jackets swept the Lightning. However, this achievement was overshadowed by the team’s lackluster performance in subsequent seasons. With the Blue Jackets failing to meet expectations and Kekalainen overseeing a questionable coaching hire that ended in controversy, it was clear that a change was needed.

Following the decision to remove Kekalainen, John Davidson, the team’s president of hockey operations and alternate governor, announced that he and the hockey operations management team would take over general manager duties temporarily. The Blue Jackets are now in the process of hiring a replacement for Kekalainen. Despite Kekalainen’s contract running through the 2024-25 season, the team felt that a fresh perspective was necessary to turn things around.

In response to the decision, Kekalainen acknowledged his role in the team’s struggles, particularly in the hiring of coach Mike Babcock. Babcock’s resignation just days before training camp due to privacy violation claims was a major setback for the Blue Jackets. Kekalainen took responsibility for the hiring, stating that it was a mistake on his part. While ownership initially stood by Kekalainen and Davidson after the coaching debacle, the team’s poor performance on the ice ultimately led to Kekalainen’s dismissal.

As the Blue Jackets look to the future, there is a sense of optimism about the team’s potential for growth and improvement. With a new general manager set to be appointed and changes on the horizon, fans are hopeful that the team will be able to regain its winning form. While Kekalainen’s departure marks the end of an era for the Blue Jackets, it also signifies a new beginning as the team aims to rebuild and strive for success in the seasons to come.


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