Kevin Cheveldayoff Extension Brings Doom & Gloom

The Kevin Cheveldayoff Extension — 

Nothing’s ever good enough in Winnipeg.

There is a significant segment of the city’s population that could never, ever be accused of seeing life through rose-coloured glasses.  Every time something or somebody good happens to that city, there is a segment that is ready to pile on at the first opportunity.

Kevin Chevaldayoff 280

Claude Noel with Jacob Trouba and Kevin Cheveldayoff at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft

This strange reality was driven home again on Wednesday as word spread like wildfire on social media that the Winnipeg Jets had added two more years to the five year deal GM Kevin Cheveldayoff had signed in 2011. And if the word spread like wildfire, the pessimistic negativity exploded like an atomic bomb.  Why now?  What does Chevy done to deserve it?  Shouldn’t the team make the playoffs first? This team hasn’t made the playoffs…it went on and on and on.  It gets a little nauseating my Winnipeg friends.

Kevin Cheveldayoff has been a winner wherever he has been.  In fact, as a pro hockey executive he has won at a rate that very few execs in the hockey world could even dream of, including a Stanley Cup title as an assistant GM with the Chicago Blackhawks just a few short years ago.

And those suggesting he has done nothing are just ludicrous.  Most observers have assessed the Jets drafts as successes; the core of this team is locked up for many years, and oh yeah, the team’s on-ice results have improved year over year since arriving here.  But, in a city that hasn’t won the Stanley Cup in over a century, the masses apparently expect that should suddenly be a regular occurrence.

But a local regular host spent much of the day questioning the timing of the move.  Well, clearly that radio host is a smarter hockey man than Mark Chipman.  And, another Winnipeg radio guy was hyper-critical of the team on Twitter, as he always is.  But, this is Winnipeg, so no surprise.

The only surprise thus far is that this crowd hasn’t absolutely run Evander Kane out of town yet, but that topic’s already been touched on at Winnipeg Hockey Talk.

MTS Centre

MTS Centre

The attitude that nothing is ever good enough, combined with the impatience for a championship from the city’s media and the fan base are an effective combination towards building a team? Don’t believe me?  Shift your gaze from the team that plays at MTS Centre downtown to the pro football team in the south end.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are two+ decades removed from their last title in an 8-team league and are at one of the lowest points in their history.  How did they get there?  Well, I’d suggest organizational instability is a huge part of the problem.

Lyle Bauer was the problem, Brendan Taman was the problem, Kevin Glenn was the problem, Paul LaPolice was the problem, Joe Mack was the problem, Garth Buchko was the problem and on and on and on.

Constantly hiring and firing coaches and management is the very worst thing any pro sports team can do if they are serious about achieving success. Jets fans should be thankful that True North Sports and Entertainment understands this, and is doing everything they can to build stability and a winning culture.

I think it is safe to say that there are 29 other NHL teams that would have no problem adding Kevin Cheveldayoff to their staff.  The guy has become a respected executive in the NHL, and he has done that through a combination of hard work and results.

The fact that another respected league executive – Jets owner Mark Chipman, believes so much in Chevy that he extends his contract, early even, is something Winnipeggers should be celebrating, not bemoaning.

You all remember Chipman, right?  You know, the guy whose vision and hard work and dedication lead to first a very successful minor-pro hockey team in Winnipeg that eventually, and more importantly, lead to an NHL team once again calling this great city home.  But suddenly, Chipman’s vision and decision-making is completely flawed and useless?

Mark Chipman and Kevin Cheveldayoff have been building something special at MTS Centre. Chipman has been putting the building blocks in place, and Chevy’s been responsible for the foot soldiers on the ice and in the dressing room. They haven’t been perfect, as Olli Jokinen provided ample evidence of last season, but they’ve done a pretty remarkable job in the last two seasons.

But for some observers, including the experts in the media and the living rooms of Winnipeg, the only thing that matters is winning.  Well, just remember one thing, Chipman and Cheveldayoff want to win even more than any of those folks do.

The difference is, Chippy and Chevy have been winners wherever they go.  So, I’m gonna stick with the vision of these two winners and what they’re building over the protestations of the talking heads and couch potatoes who, well, who knows what they’ve ever won.

Comments Welcome


  1. Mitch Kasprick says

    I have to admit that I am perplexed by the timing on the announcement although it was stated negotiations have been going on for awhile. This kind of caught me off guard like the Enstrom extension 2 summers ago. I really haven’t decided if it’s good or bad. I’ll have to let it sink in for a bit. I guess all that matters is that Mark Chipman and David Thomson are happy.

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