Trumbull's Chris Drury promoted to president and general manager of New York Rangers

Photo of Paul Doyle

Chris Drury, one of Connecticut’s most accomplished sports figures, is taking control of the New York Rangers.

The Rangers announced Wednesday that Drury was promoted from associate general manager to president/general manager. The change came as New York fired president John Davidison and GM Jeff Gorton in a move that took NHL observers by surprise.

It’s a significant bump for Drury, in his sixth season in the team’s front office. The 44-year-old Trumbull native has been rising in the executive ranks and was reportedly a candidate for GM positions throughout the NHL, but he’ll remain with the franchise he ended his playing career with as captain.

Senior advisor Glen Sather, the Rangers’ president/GM from 2000 to 2015, will assist Drury during his transition.

The new job comes 32 years after Drury first gained notoriety as the star pitcher for the Trumbull Little League team that won the 1989 Little League World Series. He was the face of the team that made its Williamsport run, the subject of a Sports Illustrated profile that described him as “a cherubic 13-year-old.”

Next came his high school hockey career, as Drury became a standout player at Fairfield Prep in the early 1990s. He won a state title in 1991 and was twice state player of the year before he was drafted out of high school in 1994 by the the Quebec Nordiques in the third round.

Drury entered Boston University that fall and played in the Frozen Four three times, winning the NCAA title in 1995. Drury also won the Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s best player in 1998.

The winning continued in the NHL. Drury debuted with the Colorado Avalanche in 1998 and earned the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1999. He was the first player in history to win both the Hobey Baker and Calder Trophy.

In 2001, he was a key contrributor to Colorado’s Stanley Cup winner. In the span of 12 years, Drury had Little League, high school, college, and NHL titles.

Drury would play 12 seasons in the NHL, moving from Colorado to Calgary to Buffalo before spending his final four seasons with the Rangers. Drury, whose brother Ted played in the NHL from 1989 to 2001, moved into a management role with the Rangers in 2015.

He began as director of player development before he was promoted to assistant general manager. He also served as general manager of the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford and was promoted to associate GM this year.

The married father of three is also part owner of the Colony Grill, which has four locations including the original establishment in Stamford. His restaurant partners are former Trumbull Little League teammates Ken Martin, Paul Coniglio and Cody Lee.

Drury takes over a team that has missed the playoffs the past four years. The Rangers have been in rebuilding mode in recent years, and Davidson — a former Rangers goalie and TV analyst — was lured from Columbus in 2019 to oversee the franchise. Gorton, a former Bruins executive, replaced Sather as GM in 2015.

The Rangers (26-21-6) do have a roster filled with young talent, including 2020 No. 1 overall draft pick Alexis Lafrenière and 2019 second overall pick Kaapo Kakkko. But ownership was apparently unhappy with another finish outside of the playoffs, so Drury will take the wheel.

Among his most pressing decisions involves the fate of head coach David Quinn, hired by the Rangers from Boston University in 2018.

Drury is the 12th GM in Rangers’ history and the eighth to have played at least one game for the franchise (Lester Patrick, Frank Boucher, Muzz Patrick, Emile Francis, Fred Shero, Phil Esposito, and Sather are the others). He’s also the second former Rangers’ captain to become GM, joining Esposito.

“Chris is a very sought-after executive and a strong leader, who has proven himself to be one of the top young minds in hockey,” MSG executive chairman Jim Dolan said in a statement. “We are confident he will effectively guide the team to ensure the long-term success we promised Rangers fans.”

paul.doyle@hearstmediact.com