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Hockey

This is no time for name calling

Patience, people, good things come to those who wait

They are the team with no name, no head coach and a captain who becomes a restricted free agent in 12 days.

But fret not, Winnipeg hockey fans -- good things come to those who wait.

Former Panthers head coach Peter DeBoer (centre) could factor in the Winnipeg coaching derby.

LYNNE SLADKY / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES

Former Panthers head coach Peter DeBoer (centre) could factor in the Winnipeg coaching derby.

In the meantime, an update on three of the many unresolved questions surrounding the Winnipeg Whatchamacallems...

On the search for a head coach...

GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and director of hockey ops/assistant GM Craig Heisinger flew to Chicago on Friday to meet with Blackhawks assistant Mike Haviland, the 43-year-old New Jersey native. Haviland has spent the last three years with the Hawks after coaching the Hawks' AHL affiliates in Rockford and Norfolk and, quite obviously, has built a positive relationship with Cheveldayoff, who also worked with the Wolves and Hawks before landing the Winnipeg gig.

Haviland, along with former Edmonton Oilers head coach/TSN analyst Craig MacTavish, Manitoba Moose head coach Claude Noel, Atlanta Thrashers boss Craig Ramsay and possibly former Florida Panthers head coach Peter DeBoer are also on the radar screen. Ramsay, who has one year remaining on his current deal, will apparently be interviewed this weekend.

Three NHL coaching vacancies were filled this week with Paul MacLean landing in Ottawa, Glen Gulutzan -- a product of The Pas -- in Dallas and Mike Yeo in Minnesota. That leaves Winnipeg and New Jersey as the two remaining organizations looking for head coaches. The hiring of Yeo over MacTavish in Minnesota did raise some eyebrows in NHL circles, as MacTavish reportedly had two interviews with GM Chuck Fletcher. Yeo, 37, is now the NHL's youngest head coach.

On the nickname debate...

The rumour that True North will make an announcement following the NHL's board of governors meeting in New York next Tuesday remains unconfirmed. As they've stated from the beginning, True North does not want to rush on this or launch a new logo/design until they are ready. That would also prevent unlicensed apparel companies from flooding the market with knock-off jerseys.

On contract negotiations with Andrew Ladd, the team captain:

"We're in no hurry to sit down with them," Ladd's agent Mark MacKay said Friday. "When we were there in Winnipeg last week we didn't discuss any figures at all, nor did we want to. That wasn't our goal. Our next step, knowing the situation Kevin and Zinger and Mark are in there in trying to get their feet under them, will probably be sitting down with them at the draft and talking."

MacKay, a Winnipeg native, and his wife took Ladd and his fiancee on a tour of Winnipeg during the captain's visit. That included a two-hour visit with a real estate agent.

"The Winnipeg people are their biggest asset," MacKay said. "It would have been so easy to fill Andrew's head with stuff, being from there myself. But it was important for my wife and I not to do that and let them see for themselves. Spending time there... people in the street were saying, 'Andrew Ladd! Welcome to Winnipeg!' We went to a restaurant, people recognized him and bought him lunch. Andrew saw the people and how nice they are. There's so much more to Winnipeg than all the negative that comes out."

FIT FOR A KING? Former Winnipeg Jet captain Kris King, now the NHL's senior vice-president of hockey operations, is reportedly interested in a management role with a team. The 45-year-old played 14 years in the NHL with Detroit, the Rangers, Coyotes, Maple Leafs and Blackhawks and suited up for the Jets from 1992-96 and would be interested in a role with Winnipeg's new franchise, according to sources.

DRAFT PARTY: Diehard hockey fans in this town now have the opportunity to get together to watch Winnipeg's first selection in the NHL Entry Draft.

True North will host a 2011 NHL entry draft party at the MTS Centre on Friday, June 24, in conjunction with the event taking place at the Xcel Energy Center in St, Paul, Minn. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and will feature a re-broadcast of TSN's Countdown to the draft showing on the scoreboard at MTS Centre. The live broadcast of the first round begins at 6 p.m. will be shown on the scoreboard.

Winnipeg selects seventh overall.

As well, one person in attendance will win a pair of NHL season tickets for the inaugural season of the Winnipeg entry, courtesy of MTS Allstream.

The general admission draft party tickets are $10 -- $5 for children under 12 -- and go on sale Saturday, June 18 at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, by calling 1-855-985-5000 or at www.ticketmaster.ca.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

-- with files from Gary Lawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 18, 2011 C3

History

Updated on Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM CDT: Corrected details of his AHL history

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