There is no doubt Winnipeg Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and Head Coach Paul Maurice have the full support of the team’s co-owner Mark Chipman. And they have brand new contract extensions to back that up.
The Jets formally announced the multi-year deals on Thursday afternoon, although the contract details for each man were not provided. When Chipman was asked if both contracts were equal in term, he said Cheveldayoff received an extension that was more reflective of an NHL General Manager’s contract that typically carries a longer term, and the deal for Maurice reflected the job security of a Head Coach- medium in length- but still in a meaningful way.
But one thing is certain, the bar has been set higher for the 2017-18 season than it ever has been for the franchise, now heading into its seventh year in Winnipeg since relocating from Atlanta in the late spring of 2011.
“Our expectations are to take a step forward this year- in a meaningful way,” said Chipman during a Thursday Morning news conference at Bell-MTS Iceplex.
“Frankly, getting (into the playoffs) is harder than winning it. This year I believe, all things being equal, the talent we’ve assembled – the schedule we have – if we can avoid serious injuries, we should be fine. Not just this year, but on a sustained basis.”
Cheveldayoff said discussions for his deal were less about the negotiation process – but more centered on an update of staying the course.
“Making sure both sides were still on the same page on how we wanted to move forward,” was how the Jets GM described his conversations with Chipman that were “very -very quick.” As for the negotiations with Maurice, “We had the framework of a deal done quite a while ago.”
And Cheveldayoff was quick to remind media that he had spoken about getting an extension in place for Maurice during his end of the season address back in early April.
Maurice said he’s happiest for his family, and didn’t even come close to falling for a question about how long he told his kids they’d be staying in Winnipeg.
“I told them the same thing I told them two years ago- we don’t have to leave,” joked Maurice. “We love it here. This is home.”
According to both Chipman and Cheveldayoff, Maurice has the unanimous support of his players, and that was another reason for extending him beyond next season.
“You want the players on the bench to have confidence in the man behind the bench- especially when the decisions are harsh,” said Maurice. “The drivers of the team have to believe in the direction you’re pushing the team. We have a good working relationship there. I treat them like men, they’re becoming more men and we’ll be able to more with that.”