For The Love Of Hockey
He leaves behind a strong legacy and carries forward a strong reputation - who will he rebuild next?
As Jeremy Rutherford of the P-D confirmed, John Davidson is now the former President of the St. Louis Blues. When Tom Stillman bought the team a few months ago, the housecleaning began, as members of the Checketts ownership group were ushered out the door, including partner and CEO Mike McCarthy.
Stillman, a minority partner of the Checketts team, seemed to have a break with the majority owners when he put in a reportedly lowball offer to purchase the team last year. The fact that Checketts refused to even acknowledge it as legitimate seemed to cause a rift within the ownership group. When Stillman finally got control of the team, the writing was on the wall for Davidson - as a loyal Checketts employee, he was seen as "them" in the new regime. When he started interviewing across the league this spring, it was a foregone conclusion that he'd be leaving at some point.
But Davidson has done himself a big favor, professionally; he did a fantastic job helping the Blues transition from league-wide joke to widely accepted powerhouse-in-waiting. The makeover of the team and the franchise make him a marketable commodity - teams that need a change in direction and need to signal to their teams and fans that changes are on the way would be wise to hire Davidson. Rumors abound that either the Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets could be his next stop.
Davidson was the face of the franchise from the time he took over until this past season, when he seemed to step back into the shadows a bit, allowing general manager Doug Armstrong to step into the spotlight. Davidson was the person commonly assumed to be behind the personnel moves being made by Larry Pleau as he ended his tenure as the GM and many felt that it was Davidson's direction that saw the Blues finally start to build their team foundation through drafting and developing players, something the team has never done consistently well.
Davidson also received most of the public credit for fan-friendly initiatives and schemes that helped fill the building once again after a couple years of low attendance.
Whether Davidson was truly the puppetmaster for everything good that happened with the franchise and the team is really known by those who worked behind the scenes with him, but we do know this: Davidson was the man at the podium making most of the best announcements, whether it be high-end draft picks, blockbuster trades or new fan-friendly programs. He was the voice and the face of the franchise - a man that the owners knew would be trusted and respected by the fans.
Surely, the Blues are in a better place now, as Davidson leaves, than they were when he arrived. He will always be respected here and fans are likely to have nothing but well wishes for him. The true test of whether he has the Midas touch or if he was just the benefactor of being the guy who got to make all the good announcements will be at his next stop. If he winds up in Calgary or Columbus, his work will be cut out for him, just like it was when he arrived back in St. Louis in 2006.
If he can turn around his next project, we will have our answer.