The rumors began to build last week and were more or less justified yesterday, but now it’s been officially announced: Kevin Cheveldayoff will be Winnipeg’s GM. Cheveldayoff replaces former Atlanta Thrashers GM Rick Dudley, who was relieved of his duties after just one season as the team’s general manager.
Cheveldayoff spent his last two seasons as the assistant GM of the Chicago Blackhawks, but it’s possible that the biggest draw was his previous experience as the general manager of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. He ran that team – the minor league affiliate for the Atlanta Thrashers – for 12 seasons, which provides him with plenty of knowledge of the Thrashers (and therefore the Winnipeg [blanks]) prospects and homegrown talent.
He told reporters that he hopes to build a “contender for years to come.”
Speaking of contenders, he’s the latest front office member to leave the Blackhawks in the last few seasons. Dudley was also in Chicago’s front office, working under former GM Dale Tallon before current Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman took over. Here’s what Bowman said about Cheveldayoff.
“While it is never easy to lose someone of his caliber, it is a great opportunity for him and his family,” Blackhawks Vice-President/General Manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He was a significant part of our front office and he played an integral role in the success of the Blackhawks throughout the last two years. I want to personally thank him for his dedication to our organization and certainly wish him all the best in Winnipeg.”
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of budget True North Sports and Entertainment will hand Cheveldayoff. Their goal of selling 13,000 season tickets was easily reached, so Winnipeg should be a hit at the box office if nothing else. He’ll face some interesting off-season questions, which we’ll discuss in a later post.
True North is putting their own stamp on their new franchise with this decision. Maybe one of these days, they might actually deliver on their promise of revealing the team’s name, too. (Not that we’re bitter about that, or anything.)