Jets unveil hockey operations department
General Manager and Executive Vice-President Kevin Cheveldayoff added off-ice personnel with strong ties to the city's former American Hockey League affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, and the Jets' predecessors from Atlanta.
Cheveldayoff named former Moose fan favorite, Jimmy Roy, the Jets' Director of Player Development. Roy recently wrapped up a 15-year pro career that included time in North America and most recently in Europe with the Iserlohn Roosters of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.
Roy, who turns 36 in September, holds the all-time Moose club record with 603 games and 102 goals. Known as a sparkplug enforcer, Roy also logged a franchise-high 1,434 penalty minutes during a nine-season run in Manitoba.
"For it to work out this way, it's a dream come true," Roy said.
The Jets also added a front-office member with family ties to the original Winnipeg Jets, Ryan Bowness, who was named Manager of Hockey Operations and Team Services. Bowness' father, current Vancouver Canucks associate coach, Rick Bowness, served as Winnipeg's head coach in 1988-89.
Larry Simmons will also make the trek to Winnipeg and serve as the club's Assistant to the General Manager.
No matter his background, Cheveldayoff is emphasizing character as a critical job requirement.
"It's about hiring the right people," Cheveldayoff said. "This is a good group of people dedicated to the Winnipeg Jets and the vision we have for the Winnipeg Jets going forward."
With so many of the franchise's key personnel blending into one organization, Cheveldayoff is aiming to build trust throughout, stretching from the draft process, player development and through the NHL dressing room.
Many voices have been integrated into the decision-making process, according to Cheveldayoff, without regard to organizational affiliation or past history. Cheveldayoff believes he has found the right man in Roy for the development position. Roy entered the pro ranks with the Moose in 1997 without the benefit of a strong hockey pedigree but managed to carve out a long pro career.
"He played the game as hard as he could possibly play it," Cheveldayoff said of Roy.
Roy will work with players at all levels of the organization and he believes that the five seasons he spent in Germany will be an asset when working with the Jets' European players. Roy's task is to impart his on- and off-ice experiences to those players in maximizing their potential.
"Hopefully they have more skill than I did," Roy said of the Jets' personnel, drawing laughs.
Roy grew up in Sioux Lookout, Ont., a five-plus hour drive from Winnipeg. He's familiar with the dynamics of the NHL's newest market and dismissed any talk that players would eschew life in Manitoba.
"You know what this city is about, and this province," he said. "They're going to be welcomed so much. You're not going to have to sell it."
Bowness, 28, logged ice time in the Ontario Hockey League, Canadian university ranks and East Coast Hockey League before retiring in 2009 to pursue an off-ice career in hockey that included two seasons in Atlanta. He brings a level of familiarity with him to Winnipeg. Bowness cited Atlanta's promising early-season start in 2010-11 and a young core that includes goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, defenseman Zach Bogosian, and forwards Evander Kane and Andrew Ladd.
"We have the pieces in place that can make some noise," Bowness said. "We've got that young core that can hopefully grow up with this city. We brought some great people over from Atlanta."
In addition to Bowness, Roy and Simmons, Cheveldayoff also determined his scouting and training staffs.
Marcel Comeau will head the club's amateur scouting staff, and Mark Dobson will direct the Jets' pro staff. Evegeny Bogdanovich will oversee Winnipeg's European scouting efforts.
Author: Patrick Williams | NHL.com Correspondent