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Columbus Hires Kekalainen as First NHL European General Manager

The Columbus Blue Jackets hired Jarmo Kekalainen to replace Scott Howson as general manager, making him the first European to hold that position in the National Hockey League.

Kekalainen, who is from Finland, has been president and general manager of Jokerit of the Finnish Elite League since 2010. He previously spent eight years with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, most recently as assistant general manager, and oversaw the team’s amateur scouting and draft preparations.

“Hockey is a truly global game and there are very few people whose knowledge of the game in North America and abroad surpasses that of Jarmo Kekalainen,” Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson said. “He is intelligent, hard-working and a tremendous evaluator of talent.”

Kekalainen, 46, also worked in the Ottawa Senators’ hockey operations department from 1995 through 2002. He appeared in 55 career NHL games over six seasons as a left wing for the Senators and Boston Bruins.

Columbus is in last place in the Western Conference’s Central Division with a 4-7-2 record this season. Howson, who was fired yesterday, spent six seasons as the Blue Jackets’ general manager, with the team recording a 173-190-59 record during his tenure.

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