Chicago Blackhawks hire former Chicago Cubs Jeff Greenberg as new associate general manager.
General manager Kyle Davidson confirmed the news to ESPN on Thursday, saying Greenberg will “help bring the Blackhawks into the next generation.”
“That’s the direction I’ve always wanted to go,” Davidson told ESPN, “Bringing in that outside influence and expertise that we don’t have internally, and someone who can bring the unique perspective of the how a front office can be run. I’m thrilled to have his influence in our group. I think he can help push us into the realm where a lot of other sports are right now, streamlining, modernizing and adding sophistication to the decision-making process, which hockey is not necessarily at the level of, in my opinion.”
Davidson, 33, was named chief executive in March after the property conducted a sweeping search, which included Greenberg, 36, as a finalist. Davidson has now completed what he calls his “core brain trust” after hiring longtime NHL executive Norm Maciver as another associate general manager. Maciver, 57, worked for the Blackhawks for 14 years before a brief stint with the Seattle Kraken. Maciver will oversee Chicago reconnaissance operations.
The Blackhawks are in the early stages of a rebuild, and Davidson said as they move forward, the team wants to restructure its office and modernize its processes. Specifically, Greenberg will be tasked with building new computer and application-based systems that streamline information for the organization — a journey he was at the forefront of with the Cubs. Davidson said that ultimately the team will have all of their information centralized and “at their fingertips,” which will “reduce things like unnecessary calls.”
“I started having conversations in the GM process, and it became very clear, and even clearer when talking with [Davidson] and [Maciver] recently, that there is an opportunity to do something new here. There’s an appetite to bring some of the processes we’ve built into baseball that can help guide decision-making — and it will touch on everything from scouting to player development to player acquisitions. »
Greenberg spent 11 years in baseball operations with the Cubs, most recently as assistant general manager. He joined the team in 2011 and helped usher in a rebuild that culminated in the 2016 World Series for Chicago.
“I had a unique experience with the Cubs coming in at ground level, with exposure to the things we were building,” Greenberg said. “To build a championship team, the ability to produce homegrown talent is key; it’s not groundbreaking and shouldn’t surprise anyone who pays attention to it. The hardest part is how do you do these things? How do you get there? You? The systems building, the commitment to those things, the relentless pursuit of finding the best information available to make the best decisions, that’s where you can create separation.”
Greenberg, who has a law degree, also worked for the offices of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Pittsburgh Pirates, and spent time with Major League Baseball working in labor relations. Davidson said Greenberg won’t necessarily be involved in day-to-day salary cap and contract matters, although his team will oversee him. Davidson said the Blackhawks will round out the rest of their hockey operations staff over the next few weeks.
Davidson warned that the components Greenberg wants to build “will take time” and “will not be crated overnight.”
“We are just entering the early stages of rebuilding,” Davidson said. “I’m thrilled, and I’m thrilled with this hire because we now have the cornerstone that will support the on-ice product.”
Although he worked his entire professional career in baseball, Greenberg said he always considered himself “a hockey guy at heart.” Greenberg started skating at age 3 and played hockey growing up. He grew up in Pittsburgh, noting he was born the year after Mario Lemieux was drafted by the Penguins, and enjoyed Pittsburgh’s streak of success in the 1990s.
Greenberg will start with the Blackhawks on May 9.