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Dean Chynoweth proudly carries father's legacy

by James Murphy

"My dad put in so many years of work to make that league and Canadian junior hockey what it is today and I know how much that moved him."
-- Dean Chynoweth

Dean Chynoweth, son of the late Ed Chynoweth, lists two of the most memorable moments of his hockey career -- and maybe his life -- as the time he captained the Medicine Hat Tigers to Western Hockey League and Memorial Cup championships in 1988. His father was the commissioner of the WHL then, and on the board of the Canadian Hockey League.

"I remember winning both those cups and for the WHL, my dad was the one to present the trophy to me and then he was on the red carpet when I received the Memorial Cup," Dean recalled. "Those were two very special moments to have your father hand you those trophies and take part in such a moment."

The President's Cup, awarded annually to the WHL champions, was renamed the Ed Chynoweth Cup in 2007.

"Anytime you receive that type of recognition from your peers, it hits home and shows that all the work you've done over the course of your career has been appreciated and noticed," Dean Chynoweth said. "My dad put in so many years of work to make that league and Canadian junior hockey what it is today and I know how much that moved him."

Ed Chynoweth, who passed away in April, had the greatest honor possible for anyone in hockey bestowed upon him with his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builders category. His son and family are saddened by the honor coming after Ed's death, but they know he would be delighted.

"It's been a long process in the sense that we knew he may one day be up for induction, so we always tried to prepare for it, but obviously we wish he was here and being inducted under different circumstances," Dean Chynoweth said. "Still, as a family, we are so proud of what he's accomplished and honored to be there for him."

With his father's induction, memories of his dad have been flowing strong for Dean, but he thinks of his father every time he goes to work as general manager and coach of the Swift Current Broncos.

Ed Chynoweth is credited with shaping the Canadian Hockey League and WHL into what it is today, but in the process of doing that, he also did a great job as a father and shaped the career of his sons, Dean and Jeff, both of whom work in the WHL.

"The first thing looking back is probably something we probably took for granted and that's the amount of time we spent around the rinks and arenas," Dean Chynoweth said. "My brother and I were able to be stick boys for the Calgary Wranglers and at the time the Calgary Flames weren't there, so 'Bearcat' Murray was the trainer for the Wranglers and he took us under his wing.

"Then when the Flames came, he took my brother Jeff up to work with the visiting teams at Flames games and I stayed with the junior team. Being around the rink wasn't just a huge perk, but as I see now with what I'm doing, it helped shape me into who I am."

Ed played a pivotal role in helping the CHL build a strong business relationship with the NHL, and also promoting the league.

"At that point, when we were young boys and then teenagers, your dad was president of the WHL and that was it,” Dean Chynoweth said. "You really didn't know the extent of what was involved, but the one thing that was evident, was that he did have to do a lot of travel with his position as commissioner and also being on the board of the CHL.

"As we got older and I started to play junior hockey, I began to see all of that in a different light, though. The vision my father had became clearer and the challenges he faced and tackled were amazing, so you grew a huge appreciation for his work."

Dean Chynoweth played parts of 9 seasons in the NHL, with the Islanders and Bruins, ending after the 1997-98 season. He then spent the next 2 seasons as an assistant coach with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL, where he worked under coach Butch Goring.

He recalled discussing Goring's job offer with his father.

“When I was with the Islanders, I noticed the scouting staff had plenty of Western league influence and it impressed me,” Chynoweth said. “I started to grow a relationship with them and then of course to get to know a legend like Al Arbour, my desire to coach started to grow stronger.

"So I remember that when Butch offered me that position, I talked it over with my dad and he told me that if this was what I wanted, to do it, but if I ever wanted to become a head coach or get into management, I should plan on going back to junior hockey. I knew he was right because I got the experience first-hand watching him and the job he did. He was very supportive and I'll always remember that."

Dean and his brother Jeff, who serves as the GM of the Kootenay Ice, now work with many of the people their father helped bring up the ranks, and they take pride in being part of keeping their father's tradition alive.

"It's kind of ironic to be working with some of the older guard that my dad helped out when they were young," Dean said. "Guys like Bruce Mitchell (chairman of the WHL) and Kelly McCrimmon (Governor/GM/coach of Brandon Wheat Kings), they all worked with my dad when they broke into the league and now they’re helping me, and of course they were all there for us during those tough times when my dad was sick."

So as the Chynoweth family accepts Ed's induction, Dean Chynoweth takes pride in the fact that he is keeping his father's work and name alive in the hockey world.

"We'll be thinking of him for sure, and it's going to be very emotional," he said. "But I know he would be proud and honored as we are of him."
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