Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Ex Wheat Kings to Pilot Winnipeg's NHL Team

The Winnipeg Fill-in-the-Blanks will be led by a pair of men with ties to the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The NHL team named Kevin Cheveldayoff as their general manager and Craig Heisinger as Senior Vice-President, Director of Hockey Operations and Assistant GM this afternoon.

The two go back to the Wheat Kings of the late 1980's, when Cheveldayoff was a defenceman and Heisinger was the club's trainer.

"We met each other back when I was a 15-year old player in Brandon and from that point on, we've had a very good friendship and a very good rivalry, but it's something we've always been able to keep very professional," said Cheveldayoff in today's media conference, "The relationship that we have is something that will be a strength for us to come in the future."

Heisinger has been GM of the Manitoba Moose for the past nine years while Cheveldayoff had a lot of success with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL and IHL before spending the past two seasons as assistant GM with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Now that the duo who will pilot Winnipeg's NHL franchise are in place, the real work begins.

"We can't just hit the ground running, we have to hit it sprinting," Cheveldayoff told CJOB, "One thing that I want to emphasize is that everything that we do is going to be well thought out, it's going to be talked about, we're going to look at our options, we're going to do our due diligence. I'm not going to put any time frames or time constraints on any of our decisions because when the decision is right and our options are right, we'll make that decision."

Winnipeg inherited a team that includes some exciting young players like Dustin Byfuglien, Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and Ondrej Pavalec.

"There are some cornerstones there to be excited about and for people to be excited about and for us to be excited about," adds Heisinger, "We're really optimistic that we'll be able to make some serious in-roads in year one and if we don't, it won't be for lack of effort. That's one thing about Kevin -- his work ethic is unparrelled."

There's no new news on the club's nickname, through True North president Mark Chipman told CJOB today that they should have something firm to announce very soon.

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