Cheveldayoff’s life a gong show
Winnipeg GM’s plate overfull with draft, hiring
Kirk Penton, QMI Agency
|Kevin Cheveldayoff, the new general manager of Winnipeg’s relocated NHL franchise, is trying to hire a coach and determine who the team is going to pick seventh overall. (QMI Agency Files)
Kevin Cheveldayoff popped into his Chicago home over the weekend to say hi to the kids and celebrate part of Father’s Day with them.
Then the gong show that is his life resumed, and he hit the road for Minneapolis, the site of this weekend’s NHL draft.
That’s how it is when you’re the new general manager of Winnipeg’s relocated NHL franchise that is trying to hire a coach and determine who it is going to pick seventh overall all at the same time.
“There’s a lot of days where we’ve been so busy that I’ve finally gone back to the hotel after and asked myself, ‘Did I eat today or not? I can’t remember.’ You can be so busy you’ll forget to eat sometimes,” Cheveldayoff said Sunday.
Good thing they haven’t put him in charge of choosing the name of the team, or he’d be wasting away.
As for the coach search, which also includes finding the person to coach their yet-to-be-named AHL team in St. John’s, Cheveldayoff wasn’t shedding much light on what he and assistant GM Craig Heisinger have accomplished thus far.
“Zinger and I have been on a pretty aggressive schedule, trying to reach out to different people as efficiently as possible,” he said. “It’s been very, very good.”
One thing we know for sure is Cheveldayoff on Saturday interviewed Craig Ramsay, who coached the team when it was in Atlanta last season.
“I have no news on what or when the next step will be,” Ramsay said in an e-mail on Sunday.
Neither did Cheveldayoff.
“To say exactly where we’re at is probably still a little premature,” Cheveldayoff said. “We’ve had some good ones. There’s obviously some evaluation that goes into each and every one after, and we’re in the due process of that.
“From our standpoint we’re going to be as methodical as possible with it and make sure that we’re very, very comfortable with our decision.”
Other candidates include former Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, Chicago Blackhawks assistant Mike Haviland and last year’s Manitoba Moose bench boss, Claude Noel.
The fact Cheveldayoff was already on his way to Minneapolis on Sunday suggests a coaching announcement won’t be coming until after the draft, which is another task that has been consuming his time.
He and Heisinger have not only been consulting with Atlanta’s amateur and pro scouts about player evaluations, but they’ve also been determining which ones are staying with the franchise and which ones are going.
Add it up, and it makes for some strange and hectic days.
“Things are much easier to focus on a week or a week-and-a-half into the job now than it was obviously initially,” he said. “Initially everything’s coming at you fast and furious, but now you find you’re able to compartmentalize everything and work on things at the appropriate times.”
Not only that, but he smells better, too.
“I picked up some things at the house as well,” he said, “so that I can get in there and start working with some clean clothes.”