The Blues made a change at the top of the business side of the organization Monday.
Chris Zimmerman was hired as president and CEO of business operations, replacing Bruce Affleck, who had led the department for nearly two years.
“(Zimmerman) is known in the sports industry as a creative marketer who develops innovative partnerships that drive business results,” Blues owner Tom Stillman said in a statement.
Zimmerman, 54, has more than 30 years of experience in sports, marketing and business management, including three seasons as president of the Vancouver Canucks.
Beginning in 1995, Zimmerman spent 11 years at Nike, working as the company’s North American advertising director, general manager of Nike Golf and president of Nike Bauer Hockey.
In 2006, Zimmerman was hired in Vancouver, where he was credited for creating new revenue streams, increasing the team’s digital presence and developing programs with corporate partners. But in 2009, he left the Canucks, citing family reasons.
Former Vancouver president and general manager Mike Gillis assessed the job Zimmerman did with the Canucks upon his departure: “I think it is an extremely strong brand. The team is in excellent shape and the brand is in excellent shape.”
The last four years, Zimmerman has been president of Easton Sports, among other business ventures.
“I am thrilled with the opportunity to join the St. Louis Blues and to contribute to the club’s storied history,” Zimmerman said in a statement. “I feel especially fortunate to be coming on board at a time of tremendous progress and momentum for the Blues.”
Zimmerman replaces Affleck, who was promoted in June 2012 to the role of chief operating officer, a title that changed in September 2013 to president of business operations.
Affleck’s affable personality made him a hit with Blues personnel. But while he helped the club trim excess business costs inherited from the Dave Checketts regime, the team could have done better at the turnstile.
Despite an 111-point season in 2013-14, which was the NHL’s fourth-highest total and the second-highest total in franchise history, the Blues ranked 18th in average attendance (17,025), according to ESPN.com.
Affleck will remain with the Blues, taking the new title of executive vice president.
The club says that he “decided earlier this year to move to a new role in which he will focus on developing enhanced relationships with key St. Louis companies.”
Affleck will work closely with Zimmerman.
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