February 13, 2013
Blue Jackets make Kekalainen first European GM in NHL history

New Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen (Kimmo Mantyla, Reuters)

The European invasion has finally landed in an NHL general manager's chair.

Columbus Blue Jackets president John Davidson looked at the ugly picture with the club treading water under GM Scott Howson and then reached overseas to Finland to hire Jarmo Kekalainen.

"Thirty per cent of the players in our league are European," said Davidson, who worked with Kekalainen in St. Louis. "He's intelligent about the world of hockey, the players in this game all over the world, not just North America. We expect him to do a very good job, and he's very excited about it."

While the former GM of Jokerit in the Finnish Elite League might be a trailblazer as the first European manager in NHL history, Kekalainen isn't going to let his birth certificate do the talking. His actions will speak louder than words.