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From the farm to the front office

Wednesday, 27.07.2011 / 1:47 PM / Feature
By Kalen Qually
Kevin Cheveldayoff has travelled a long way from the farm to the front office. But as Chevy points out, there are a lot of similarities between the tractor on his parents’ Saskatchewan farm and the desk he currently sits at as the general manager of the Winnipeg Jets.

“Growing up on a farm, I learned about work ethic and that you have to believe in something,” said Chevy talking about his upbringing in Blaine Lake, a farming community 50 miles north of Saskatoon.

“When you plant a seed in the ground, you have to believe it’s going to grow. And when you do something on the hockey side (as a general manager), you have to have faith it’s going to become a strength on your team.”

Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff
Cheveldayoff’s gravel road through hockey began in the prairie city of Brandon, MB where he played four seasons with the Wheat Kings from 1987-1990. It was during this time that Chevy became acquainted with an equipment manager who possessed great people skills and a keen eye for talent. Craig Heisinger and Chevy re-acquainted years later as rivals in the International Hockey League, Zinger with the Manitoba Moose and Chevy with the Chicago Wolves.

After 12 seasons as the general manager of the Chicago Wolves, Chevy was hired as the assistant GM of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009-10 and won the Stanley Cup in his first season on the job. One year later, Zinger phoned up his friend and former rival to offer him the general manager job of Winnipeg’s new NHL team.

On his way to Winnipeg for his own press conference, Chevy with his wife, Janet, and kids, Chase and Alexi, received an especially warm welcome at the border when they were renamed the “The Royal Family” by the border guard crossing into Manitoba.

“The border guard asked me two questions,” recalled Chevy.  “He asked me ‘What is the team’s name?’ and ‘When are you going to win the Stanley Cup?’”

Hoping that Chevy’s resume is a strong indicator, the answer to the second question might be ‘soon’. Chevy has four Turner Cup championships from the IHL, two Calder Cup championships from the AHL, and most recently a Stanley Cup in 2010.

Chevy’s family will remain living in their Chicago home for the time being while the Jets’ GM adjusts to his new surroundings. The Cheveldayoff’s are already familiar with the city as Janet’s family is originally from Melita, MB.

“Ironically in a lot of ways Winnipeg was always a vacation for us,” said Chevy. “With my wife being from Manitoba, a lot of times vacations would venture into the city.”

Judging by the general manager’s exhausting new work schedule and lengthy to-do list, this latest trip to Winnipeg hardly seems like a vacation.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Wheeler 82 28 41 4 69
B. Little 82 23 41 8 64
D. Byfuglien 78 20 36 -20 56
A. Ladd 78 23 31 8 54
O. Jokinen 82 18 25 -8 43
M. Frolik 81 15 27 8 42
E. Kane 63 19 22 -7 41
M. Scheifele 63 13 21 9 34
T. Enstrom 82 10 20 -9 30
J. Trouba 65 10 19 4 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Montoya 13 8 3 .920 2.30
O. Pavelec 22 26 7 .901 3.01