Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

NHL in Winnipeg Q&A

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Hockey fans in these parts, still in a frenzy after last week's announcement the NHL is returning, have questions. Lots of them.

Most of those answers won't be known until True North gets settled and has its hockey operations department in place. But we do have some nuggets to pass along to some

 

FAQ...

 

-- The 2011-12 schedule? Where is it so I can map out my winter nights?

A NHL spokesman said Tuesday this fall's schedule should be released within the next few weeks, perhaps after the league's awards show in Las Vegas on June 22.

As well, just as a point of reference for some key dates:

Last year's rookie camps opened on Sept. 10;

Main training camp opened a week later on Sept. 17;

Pre-season games began last year in the third week of September;

Opening night will come the first week in October and will likely launch with games in Europe, as has been the case for the past four seasons. Early indications are six teams would head to Europe to play, with the leading contenders being the Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Washington Capitals.

 

-- -- --

 

-- What's the deal with the GM? And what role will Craig Heisinger play?

Kevin Cheveldayoff, who was the Chicago Blackhawks assistant GM and senior director of hockey operations, has accepted the job and will be introduced at a press conference on Wednesday. The Blaine Lake, Sask., product also spent 12 years as the GM of the Chicago Wolves in the IHL and AHL. Heisinger is as respected as they come in the hockey world. It's uncertain what his official title will be, but his fingerprints will be all over the franchise.

 

-- -- --

 

-- Former Thrashers GM Rick Dudley wasn't brought back, what happens to head coach Craig Ramsay?

 

Ramsay told the Free Press on Tuesday he has not spoken to True North in the past couple of days, but he expects to hear of his fate after the GM is announced. Cheveldayoff and Heisinger will obviously be heavily involved in who emerges as the franchise's first bench boss.

 

-- -- --

 

-- Why the long wait on the team name thing?

True North types said last week that they were going to take some time with this. 'Jets' hasn't been ruled out -- the NHL owns the rights and has said the Winnipeg owners can have it back -- but the organization also wants to keep the Moose name in its family, perhaps with their AHL affiliate in St. John's, NL. Expect that announcement soon, although the logo and jersey design might take longer.

 

-- -- --

 

-- Mark Chipman was in New York on Tuesday. What for?

Chipman and some other True North executives attended a meeting of the NHL's executive committee. That meeting is to allow True North executives to outline the details of their 'Drive to 13,000' ticket campaign and is a necessary step to gain approval from the league's governors, which will take place on June 21, also in New York.

 

-- -- --

 

-- What happens to Moose players not under contract to the Canucks? Will they remain in the organization?

There's a good chance players like Travis Ramsay, Marco Rosa and Kevin Clark -- AHL free agents -- will be offered the chance to come back. Nolan Baumgartner, meanwhile, becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

 

-- -- --

 

-- Andrew Ladd, the Thrashers captain, almost had a deal done with the Atlanta organization this spring. Where does that stand?

Almost doesn't mean done, but clearly a deal like this took a back seat while the franchise was sold and relocated. Expect Cheveldayoff and Heisinger to make this one of the first items on their to-do list.

 

--With files from Gary Lawless and Tim Campbell

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 8, 2011 C2

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