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Cheveldayoff expected to accept GM position

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True North has offered the GM position of Winnipeg's new NHL franchise to Kevin Cheveldayoff, according to several sources.

It wasn't known Sunday if Cheveldayoff had accepted the position but there is an expectation that if he hadn't, it won't take long.

 

Cheveldayoff has held the position of assistant GM and senior director of hockey operations with the Chicago Blackhawks for two years and was part of that organization's Stanley Cup winning management team in 2009-10.

The Free Press first reported on Friday that Cheveldayoff was the preferred candidate for True North's general manager's job. True North informed Atlanta GM Rick Dudley on Saturday that they had elected to not retain him as the new Winnipeg team's GM.

Saturday, it was reported that the Blackhawks had granted permission for the Winnipeg franchise to talk to Cheveldayoff.

When contracts are in force, normally a provision of being allowed those discussions is that a promotion is involved. It's practically unheard of in normal circumstances that one team would simply allow a hockey executive to move to another team in the same capacity.

Cheveldayoff, the 41-year-old Saskatoon native, was general manager of the IHL's and AHL's Chicago Wolves for 12 years prior to his hire by the Blackhawks as GM Stan Bowman's chief lieutenant and cap specialist.

In that regard, he's been well-known to current Manitoba Moose GM and True North vice-president Craig Heisinger for a long time.

Cheveldayoff and Heisinger go back farther. Cheveldayoff played four seasons in the late 1980s for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL when Heisinger worked there as the team's equipment manager.

Their relationship has continued and broadened over the years, even despite some bitter head-to-head battles by their professional teams on the ice.

If there's an announcement of Cheveldayoff's hire by mid-week, it seems unlikely that he'll be in the Winnipeg/Atlanta chair at the NHL GMs meetings in Boston on Wednesday.

 

That's because True North doesn't become the official owner of the franchise until the sale and relocation is approved by the league's board of governors. That vote will not take place until June 21.

Unless True North chairman Mark Chipman and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman have arrived at some prior agreement on this matter, there's every chance the chair at the GMs meetings could be empty, or occupied by someone from the outgoing Atlanta hockey department.

The meetings hold significant importance because several rule changes and adjustments are on the agenda -- in particular about head shots -- coming out of the direction the GMs decided to go at their March meetings.

It's likely the GMs are ready to formalize the proposals that will go to the league's owners for their approval so they can be in place for the 2011-12 season.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

 

Kevin Cheveldayoff

 

Age: 41

Born: Saskatoon, Sask.

Drafted: 1988, first round, NYI

Playing career: rugged defenceman played 276 games in AHL and IHL before injuries forced his retirement in 1994. ACCOMPLISHMENTS: after two seasons as an IHL assistant coach in Utah, assumed the GM's job with the Chicago Wolves. Led the franchise to two IHL and two AHL titles in 12 years in charge before being hired by the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks in 2009.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 6, 2011 C1

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