By Scott Billeck
The Winnipeg Jets today gave their general manager, Kevin Cheveldayoff a two-year contract extension, locking him up for the next five years. Cheveldayoff’s first two seasons with the Jets have been far from easy; he took on a failing franchise and endured a half-season work stoppage, yet has shown poise and promise – something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by owner Mark Chipman.
“Our plan is really simple, it is about reinvestment,” said Chipman. “I think you know I hold Chevy in very high regard. I have known him for many years before bringing him on-board. Over the past couple of years I have learned that we probably underestimated his abilities.
“His character and his confidence confirmed what we knew and beyond. I cannot tell you how much confidence I have in Chevy.”
Cheveldayoff is entering his third year as the Jets general manager. Prior to being hired on with the Jets, Cheveldayoff spent time as the assistant general manager in the Chicago Blackhawks organization and before that he was the general manager of the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves for 12 seasons.
Cheveldayoff was able to lock up his core players over this past summer including Blake Wheeler, and Zach Bogosian. He has also made key trades to fill some of the voids in the line-up with the likes of Michael Frolik and Devin Setoguchi.
“I learned along time ago that it doesn’t matter how badly you want to achieve something or in this case win hockey games – you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with,” Chipman continued. “I’ve learned that the hard way, in this case I think I have learned that I couldn’t have a more capable guy leading our hockey team for the long term.
“So we have extended Kevin back to his original five-years, I think that he and his family are deserving of that and that the fans of our organization are deserving of knowing where we are going and how we are going to get there.”
Chipman emphasised the notion that the fans deserve to know that the team is heading in the right direction.
“They deserve to know that we have a plan and what it is,” said Chipman. “They invest considerably in what we are about, through the purchase of tickets, sponsorships and suites.
“One of the biggest parts of our plan is having our hockey team and its future in the hands of Kevin Cheveldayoff. I am very confident that we are on the right track.”
Cheveldayoff couldn’t be happier to continue on his course with the Jets franchise.
“It is an exciting time for everybody,” said Cheveldayoff. “We know where the CBA is now, we know where training camp stands, we know all of the different things that over the course of time there has been some uncertainties. It is a great opportunity for us to begin a new season.”
Cheveldayoff has felt the support of the franchise since he started in Winnipeg in 2011.
“When I saw the passion in Mark’s eyes when the announcement was made and knowing the type of ownership, knowing the type of foundation that is in place…that excitement, that passion, that commitment…that gives me a tremendous great feeling that this organization is committed to doing what it takes for the long haul.
“For me, I am embracing this opportunity of helping build this franchise into something great for years to come.”