Chevy to sit down with Haviland
PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency
|Cheveldayoff will sit down with Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland (standing) on Friday. (Reuters file photo)
WINNIPEG - It’s two down, and two to go for Kevin Cheveldayoff.
The general manager of Winnipeg’s new NHL team has knocked two interviews off his short list of candidates for the head coaching position.
Cheveldayoff met with former Edmonton Oilers bench boss Craig MacTavish, Thursday, and the Sun has learned he’ll sit down with Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland on Friday.
Craig Ramsay, the incumbent head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers, gets his turn to make a pitch for the job this weekend.
“He’s a guy that has earned that opportunity,” Cheveldayoff told the Sun. “And we’re going to meet with him.”
It’s believed Claude Noel, head coach of the Manitoba Moose last season, was the first one to meet with Cheveldayoff, whose short list appears to be at four.
“We compiled our list of people we had an interest in,” the GM said. “And then we spent a lot of time discussing those people and whittled it down to a smaller, select few. Some of the people we’ve talked about are people other teams have talked about. But we’ll make our own decisions.”
Haviland’s advantage is his familiarity with Cheveldayoff, as the two worked together with the Blackhawks the last two years.
The 43-year-old native of Middletown, N.J., a Blackhawks assistant for three seasons, has plenty of experience as a head coach, too, having spent the previous three years in charge of Chicago’s AHL affiliate in Norfolk and Rockford.
In his seven years as a head coach in the minors, Haviland never missed the playoffs, winning two ECHL championships, in 2003 and ’05, and earning the AHL’s coach of the year award in ’07.
Seen as someone who’ll eventually get a shot to run his own show in the NHL, he played two years of pro hockey in the minors before an injury cut short his career in 1991.
As the Sun first reported Thursday, Montreal Canadiens assistant Kirk Muller was on Winnipeg’s radar initially, but did not make the short list and will not be interviewed.
Muller and MacTavish were also candidates to take over the Minnesota Wild, but reports indicate that position is going to Mike Yeo, who this past season guided the Wild’s AHL farm team, the Houston Aeros, to the Calder Cup final.
New Jersey and Dallas are also still without head coaches, although the Stars are reportedly on the verge of promoting Glen Gulutzan from their AHL farm team, the Texas Stars.
Word is the Stars were waiting for the Dallas Mavericks to get their NBA championship parade out of the way, Thursday, before making it official as soon as Friday morning.