David A. Andrews
President and Chief Executive Officer
As he enters his milestone 20th season as President and CEO of the American Hockey League in 2013-14, David Andrews remains one of the most influential executives in hockey and all of minor professional sports. He has guided the AHL into unequaled times of prosperity, directing the league to record levels of attendance and exposure while expanding its geography across the United States and Canada.
Under Andrews’ direction, the AHL has become the sole primary development league for all 30 National Hockey League organizations. In 2001, he led one of the largest expansion efforts ever in pro sports, a complex enterprise of bringing nine new cities into the AHL. The AHL’s footprint has grown dramatically during Andrews’ tenure, with successful franchises throughout the Northeast and Midwest and in major North American markets such as Chicago, Toronto, Cleveland, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Charlotte and Oklahoma City. Andrews has also worked to ensure the league’s continuing success in smaller historical and traditional markets like Rochester, Springfield, Hershey, Providence and Binghamton.
League attendance has climbed dramatically under Andrews’ leadership, more than doubling from 2.9 million in the final season before his term began in 1994 to more than 6.2 million in every season since 2001. Over the last 12 years, more than 79 million fans have attended AHL games, an average crowd of more than 5,400 per game.
The league and its teams, in the regular season and in marquee events like outdoor games, the annual AHL All-Star Classic and the Calder Cup Playoffs, have been showcased to audiences worldwide during Andrews’ tenure on television (through the years airing on national networks such as Sportsnet, CBC, TSN, NHL Network, ESPN2 and the CBS Sports Network), on satellite radio and on the Internet through live on-line video streaming. Andrews was instrumental in re-introducing the All-Star Classic in 1995 after a 35-year absence, and that tradition of showcasing the best young stars in hockey on an international stage goes a step further in 2014 as the AHL’s best will host renowned Swedish club team Färjestad BK at this year’s All-Star event in St. John’s.
As a result of Andrews’ direction and leadership, the AHL boasts an impressive list of corporate partners who have used the growing AHL as an effective tool for marketing their products and services, highlighted by a historic partnership with Reebok that has become the foundation for the league’s marketing, licensing and on-ice branding strategies.
In recognition of his accomplishments, Andrews was named a 2010 recipient of the prestigious Lester Patrick Trophy, presented annually for contributions to hockey in the United States. He has also been honored with induction into the British Columbia Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005, and the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in 2006.
A native of Nova Scotia, Andrews assumed his duties as AHL President in July of 1994. He came to the league office with a firsthand knowledge of the AHL, having served as the Edmonton Oilers’ director of AHL operations for seven years, building the Cape Breton Oilers franchise into one of the most successful AHL clubs both on and off the ice. The Oilers captured the 1993 Calder Cup championship and missed the playoffs only once in six seasons. The Oilers set a league record with 36 sellouts during the 1990-91 season, and they sold out 118 games in a four-year span from 1989-93. Andrews was awarded the 1990 James C. Hendy Award as the AHL’s outstanding executive.
Prior to joining the Oilers, Andrews was employed by the government of Canada as a senior consultant with SportCanada. In that position, he was responsible for providing direction to five national Winter Olympic sport organizations in the development of the national team for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary. Andrews’ hockey background includes serving as head coach and director of hockey operations for the Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League from 1982-84, and he served as an assistant coach for the Cougars when they represented the WHL in the 1981 Memorial Cup. He has also served as head coach of the 1982 Canadian National Under-18 Team and as an assistant coach at the 1985 Canadian Olympic Hockey Team training camp. Andrews was the Hockey Development Coordinator for the Province of British Columbia from 1975-80. He served 10 years on the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association’s Developmental Council and was chairman of the coaching committee for CAHA during that time.
During his playing days as a goaltender, Andrews was a conference all-star and MVP at both Dalhousie University and the University of British Columbia. He played four years professionally for RAAK in the Dutch first division.
Andrews, who also serves as an adjunct professor of sports marketing at Springfield College, resides with his wife, Marleen, in Wilbraham, Mass. They have three children: Chrissy, Brad and Jeff.