Blue Jackets hire 1st European as NHL GM

Topics: From the Wires,

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets have made history by hiring Jarmo Kekalainen of Finland as the first European to become a general manager in the National Hockey League.

The Blue Jackets fired Scott Howson on Tuesday night after more than five years in the job, during which the club only made it to the playoffs once and fell to the depths of the league.

Kekalainen, director of amateur scouting with the St. Louis Blues 2002-10, held a news conference in his native Finland on Wednesday at the same time the Blue Jackets held theirs in Columbus.

He worked closely with Columbus director of hockey operations John Davidson with the Blues. When the Blues hired Doug Armstrong instead of Kekalainen as GM in 2010, he took over as GM of Jokerit in Finland’s top league.

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