The Chicago Blackhawks are hiring Jeff Greenberg, formerly with the Chicago Cubs, as their new associate general manager.
General manager Kyle Davidson confirmed the news to ESPN on Thursday, saying Greenberg will “help carry the Blackhawks into the next generation.”
“It’s the direction I always wanted to go,” Davidson told ESPN, “To bring in that outside influence and expertise we don’t have in-house, and someone that can bring the unique perspective of how a front office can be run. I’m excited to get his influence into our group. I think he can help push us into the area a lot of other sports are in right now, streamlining, modernizing and adding sophistication to the decision-making process, that hockey isn’t necessarily at the level of, in my opinion.”
Davidson, 33, was named general manager in March after ownership led a wide-ranging search, which included Greenberg, 36, as a finalist. Davidson has now rounded out 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’s scouting operations.
The Blackhawks are in the initial 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 out new computer and app-based systems that will streamline information for the organization — a journey he had a front-row seat to with the Cubs. Davidson said ultimately, the team will have all its information centralized and “at the tip of our fingertips” which “will cut down on things like unnecessary calls.”
“I began to have conversations in the GM process, and it became very clear, and even more clear in talking with [Davidson] and [Maciver] recently, that there’s an opportunity to do something new here. There’s an appetite to bring some of the processes we built in baseball which can help drive decision making — and that will touch everything from scouting to player development to player acquisitions.”
Greenberg spent 11 years in baseball operations with the Cubs, including most recently as assistant general manager. He joined the team in 2011, and helped usher in a rebuild that yielded the 2016 World Series for Chicago.
“I had a unique experience with the Cubs to get in at the ground level, with exposure to the things we were building,” Greenberg said. “To build a championship team, the ability to produce homegrown talent is essential; that’s not groundbreaking and shouldn’t surprise anyone who pays attention. The harder thing is, how do you do those things? How do you make it happen? The systems building, the commitment to those things, the relentless pursuit of finding the best available information to make best decisions is where you can create separation.”
Greenberg, who has a law degree, also worked for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Pittsburgh Pirates front offices, and spent time with Major League Baseball working in labor relations. Davidson said Greenberg won’t necessarily be involved in the day-to-day of salary cap and contract matters, though his team will oversee it. Davidson said the Blackhawks will fill out the rest of their hockey operations staff in the coming weeks.
Davidson warned that the components Greenberg wants to build will “take time” and “are not crated overnight.”
“We’re just embarking on the first stages of the rebuild,” Davidson said. “I’m excited, and I’m excited about this hire because now we have the cornerstone that will buoy the on-ice product.”
Though he worked his entire professional career in baseball, Greenberg said he has always considered himself “a hockey guy at heart.” Greenberg began skating at 3-years-old and played hockey growing up. He was raised in Pittsburgh, noting he was born the year after Mario Lemieux was drafted by the Penguins, and enjoyed Pittsburgh’s run of success through the 1990s.
Greenberg will begin with the Blackhawks on May 9.