The Jackets added another member to their management team today, hiring former Acme Sports agent Bill Zito as Assistant General Manager.
Per the team's press release:
"Bill Zito is an astute businessman who understands all facets of our game and will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Columbus Blue Jackets," said Kekalainen. "I have known Bill for many years and believe he will be a great addition to our hockey operations staff as we continue our efforts to build a championship-caliber team."
Zito and GM Jarmo Kekalainen have crossed paths before, when in the early 1990s they merged their respective player agencies. Jarmo left Acme in 1995 to begin his NHL management career. Zito's claim to fame is his representation of fringe and unknown players, who go on to become NHL stars. He also represented players like Tuukka Rask, recently negotiating a huge new deal with Boston.
Chris MacFarland remains with the team. At this point, and this is just a guess, it looks like MacFarland's duties will be split between he and Zito, with Zito having greater say at the NHL level and in contract negotiation. MacFarland will continue to operate the Falcons and participate in amateur scouting.
Zito had to cut all ties with Acme by taking the AGM job with the Jackets, but his connections at the pro and college levels will give him a huge network with which to perform scouting and contract negotiation duties. Who better to negotiate with player agents than former player agents? You can't bullshit a bullshitter, as they say.
Another one of Zito's former clients is Tim Thomas, of Colorado wilderness fame. Here's hoping that the connection stops there- all of me is against the idea of Timmy and his traveling circus suiting up in Union Blue, even if something, god forbid, happens to Sergei Bobrovsky.
Zito is somebody who Jarmo has worked with and obviously trusts. He's another voice in a Nationwide Arena board room which is slowly filling with excellent hockey and business minds. Good hire, I say.