The Calgary Hitmen didn’t have to go far to find a new general manager.
They turned to director of hockey operations Garry Davidson to fill the gig.
Davidson becomes the sixth GM in franchise history after accepting the post Thursday.
“I am very excited of the opportunity and the challenge presented to me in this role,” Davidson said. “I have spent the past two seasons working with this organization and building a strong Hitmen list. I look forward to continuing to support in that area but also support our coaching staff in on-ice success.”
In a hockey career spanning more than three decades, Davidson has served as a head coach, GM and owner at various levels in both the junior, international and professional ranks. The Manitoba native has worked extensively in the British Columbia Hockey League and Western Hockey League since the early 1990s.
In 2012, he took on the role as GM for the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, with whom he spent nine years before joining the Hitmen organization.
Prior to his tenure with the Silvertips, Davidson served as the director of player personnel for the Portland Winterhawks from 2008-12.
“We are very fortunate to have the knowledge, experience and expertise Garry brings to the Hitmen organization,” Hitmen vice-president Mike Moore said. “In his previous two seasons with the team, we have seen his impact through the draft and listing process. We have a young, skilled team that will continue to grow with Garry’s leadership. His track record in Everett and his impact in Portland is a testament to his influence on their success.”
Davidson served as the director of player personnel for the Hitmen from 2021-23 before being named the club’s director of hockey operations this past summer when former GM Jeff Chynoweth was released.
At the time of those moves, Moore wanted to push past the mediocre run of the Hitmen into bigger success. And the president said he wasn’t going to rush the process of finding a new GM for the team.
“I think if you look at the results, we’ve been mediocre — and it’s been a while,” Moore said during the off-season. “We haven’t been in a conference finals since 2015, so it’s been a little while.
“But it’s not one person,” Moore continued. “We’re looking at everything we’re doing, and we want to be competitive each and every year with a chance to win. That’s on everybody, not just one person.”
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Davidson’s accolades include being three-time BCHL Coach of the Year, WHL Executive of the Year in the 2017-18 season and WHL finalist for executive of the year in the 2018-19 season. During his time serving as GM of the Everett, the junior club achieved five first-place finishes and four top-five finishes in the WHL and an average of over 40 wins in the U.S. Division.
In the past four games, the Hitmen have turned the current season around, winning all those tilts to improve to 6-7-2.
Last weekend, they ripped off three Ws, with respective 4-3, 7-4 and 7-4 decisions over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes (9-5-1-0), the visiting Red Deer Rebels (5-7-0-1) and the visiting Winterhawks (9-4-0-0). The Winterhawks came into that contest as the top team in the WHL.
They suit up to play two more home games this weekend — against the Silvertips (8-5-1-0) on Friday (7 p.m.) and versus the Moose Jaw Warriors (10-6-0-0) on Sunday (6 p.m.) — at Scotiabank Saddledome.