Davidson Transitioning From Hockey to Business
New ownership often brings change in professional sports. The trend is certainly staying the course with the St. Louis Blues under Tom Stillman. Blues President John Davidson is learning this firsthand.
Blues fans have witnessed their share of ownership transition over the years and circumstances can definitely play a role in how an organization presents itself. When Dave Checketts took over the team in 2006 he needed someone to become the face of the franchise. With Checketts operating the team almost exclusively out of his New York office, it made sense to have someone as polished as John Davidson to become the voice and face of the New York contingency.
Things are slightly different heading into the 2012-2013 season. A local ownership group, led by Stillman, is now running the organization. The need for an individual to represent the franchise isn’t as necessary as it once was. It was important to Checketts and company back in 2006 that then-General manager Larry Pleau take a back seat. Anything coming out of the hockey department came from Davidson directly.
This was a role that suited Davidson perfectly. He was sharp on camera and like Checketts, he was successful at convincing the fans and media that their plan would eventually land the franchise back on its feet. Checketts had limited hockey experience and needed a personality like Davidson to sell the club locally. At the very least Davidson gave the Blues instant credibility.
The reality is the Blues have moved past this stage and the need for Davidson to be the face of ownership/hockey has come and gone.
Stillman isn’t new to the game considering the time he’s spent with the Blues as a minority owner the last six years. He also brings an unusual level of passion for the sport compared to most ownership groups across the board in the NHL.
Over the last few weeks Davidson’s job description and responsibilities have changed. He’s no longer listed as President of Hockey Operations on the Blues official website. He does still carry the President title but sources confirm he’s moved offices out of the upstairs hockey department and into the downstairs business office.
With hockey operations in good shape under GM of the Year Doug Armstrong, the organization is now leaning on Davidson to help grow the business side. Increasing revenues has been the focus for Stillman since taking over in May and Davidson is being asked to assist in this area. There appears to be a bigger need internally for Davidson to focus on generating revenue along with working closely with sponsorships and community relations. It’s all about a collective effort to get the franchise on track financially. It’s hard to imagine Davidson won’t be an asset on the business side, after all this is the normal job description for most, if not all, President’s working in the NHL today.
When reached Wednesday Davidson said he had no comment on the change. It’s safe to suggest this isn’t exactly what he signed up for when Checketts hired him six years ago. JD has three years left on his contract totaling $6.1 million and many will wonder how interested he’ll be in staying for the duration of his deal under the current situation.
JD is a hockey guy by nature and became a giant in the television industry following a career as an NHL goaltender.
Colaiacovo gets Offer….
Sources confirm talks have progressed between D-man Carlo Colaiacovo and the Detroit Red Wings. Word is he’s received a multi-year offer from Detroit with the New York Rangers and the Carolina Hurricanes also expressing some level of interest. He turned down Nashville earlier this summer while the Calgary Flames have indicated they could be interested in if they move Jay Bouwmeester.
As for St. Louis, they haven’t closed the door on Colaiacovo but may choose to give Ian Cole an opportunity to take the next step. Word is Cole has had a great off-season and is in terrific shape. Whether or not he can be a quality partner for Alex Pietrangelo is certainly unknown. Pietrangleo could always slide over to the left side if the Blues load up and pair the future Norris candidate with fellow up and comer Kevin Shattenkirk. GM Doug Armstrong continues to explore the trade market searching for an upgrade on defense. A new CBA could force teams to move a player or two depending on the salary cap.
More to come,