Davidson returns to Blue Jackets as president of hockey ops

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John Davidson

FILE – John Davidson, the new president of the New York Rangers, speaks during a news conference in New York, in this Wednesday, May 22, 2019, file photo. The New York Rangers abruptly fired president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 with three games left in the season. Chris Drury was named president and GM. He previously served as associate GM under Davidson and Gorton. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

John Davidson returned to the Columbus Blue Jackets as president of hockey operations on Thursday following his unexpected firing by the New York Rangers earlier this month.

Davidson is back in the job he held from 2012-19 on a five-year contract. The Blue Jackets also signed general manager Jarmo Kekalainen to a contract extension through 2025.

“John Davidson and Jarmo Kekalainen worked tirelessly and effectively together to transform our hockey club from a team with one Stanley Cup playoff appearance in 12 seasons to one that reached the postseason five times in seven years,” team president Mike Priest said.

“This is an important time for our organization and having stability and proven leadership at the top of our hockey operations department is critical for us to do what we want to do, which is bring a Stanley Cup championship to Columbus. Signing Jarmo to an extension and then bringing J.D. back gives us the right people to address the opportunities and challenges before us and we couldn’t be more excited.”

The Blue Jackets are looking for a new coach after missing the playoffs and parting ways with John Tortorella. Davidson’s return gives the organization a respected hockey executive to help lead that search.

Davidson and Rangers GM Jeff Gorton were fired abruptly with three games left in the regular season. Davidson had spent less than two full years as New York’s president, which he considered a dream job after playing there.

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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