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Cheveldayoff understands team's importance for city

by Patrick Williams / NHL.com
WINNIPEG -- Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff’s opportunities to reflect have been limited this summer.

Hired by the Jets on June 8, the former Chicago Blackhawks assistant general manager has spent his summer orchestrating the mammoth task of relocating an NHL club, reshaping its roster, hiring a new coaching staff and, of course, handling the many off-ice chores that come with moving from Chicago.

But Cheveldayoff took a moment Thursday to soak in the all-hockey environment that is Winnipeg this weekend, including its being the centerpiece of the 2011 Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off.

"All of the players here are enjoying the opportunity for change," Cheveldayoff said of his club's start in a new home. "They're embracing the enthusiasm in the building and the community. I think that like anyone, they're just excited to get started. It's a long journey, and this will be the first step for all of them."

Taking a long-term view while handling his club's day-to-day affairs does not afford Cheveldayoff the luxury of attaching additional significance to his club's season-opener Sunday against the Canadiens (4 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CBC, RDS).

"I don't look at this game differently than I'm going to look at any game coming up," Cheveldayoff said. "As a manager, you look at the short-term ... but you also have to look at the long-term situation and see what plays itself out."

Still, even the all-business Cheveldayoff could not help but absorb the excitement in the city surrounding the Jets.

"(I am) very excited," he said. "Excited for the community, the Chipman family, for guys like (assistant GM) Craig Heisinger, who stuck in there for so long. For the city of Winnipeg, it's going to be a very special day."
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