David A. Andrews
President and Chief Executive Officer
In his 26th season as President and CEO of the American Hockey League in 2019-20, 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, seeing record levels of attendance and exposure while expanding its geography across the United States and Canada.
Under Andrews’ leadership, the AHL has redefined itself as the sole primary development league for the National Hockey League, serving all 31 NHL organizations. Nearly 90 percent of all NHL players and every current NHL referee have now come through the AHL. Andrews continues to manage countless relationships with cities, owners and NHL affiliates to grow and maintain the AHL through challenging economic times: In 2001, he led one of the largest expansion efforts ever in pro sports — a complex enterprise of bringing six new cities into the AHL as the rival International Hockey League folded, and in 2015, Andrews brought to a successful outcome the complex process of relocating teams into five markets in California, an enterprise which will continue to develop and strengthen the game on the Pacific coast.
Andrews has also contributed to the growth of hockey by working closely with the NHL on rules innovations — such as hybrid icing and 3-on-3 overtime play — and player safety initiatives including mandatory visors for all skaters.
The AHL’s footprint has grown dramatically during Andrews’ tenure, with successful franchises throughout North America and in major markets such as Chicago, Toronto, Cleveland, San Antonio, Charlotte, Austin, San Diego, Milwaukee and San Jose. Andrews has also worked to ensure the league’s continuing success in smaller historical and traditional markets like Rochester, Springfield, Hershey, Syracuse, 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 7.1 million in 2018-19.
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 and ESPN2), 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 coordinated the unique 2014 event that saw the AHL’s best host renowned Swedish club team Färjestad BK.
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 first-hand 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 received 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 Program.
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 and his wife, Marleen, have three children — Chrissy, Brad and Jeff — and six grandchildren.