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Maurice, Cheveldayoff each agrees to multiyear extension with Jets

Coach led Winnipeg to playoffs in 2015; GM has been with team since it relocated from Atlanta in 2011

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

WINNIPEG -- Coach Paul Maurice and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff each agreed to terms on a multiyear contract extension with the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

Terms of the contracts were not disclosed. Each was going into the final season of his contract.

"It's an important step in our progression of building this team, being able to secure Kevin and Paul in their current roles," said Mark Chipman, executive chairman of the board of True North Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Jets. "I judge that to be an important step and I'm glad to get it done."

Stability and consistency have been priorities in Chipman's goal to build a successful franchise, and the contract extensions for Maurice and Cheveldayoff check those boxes, Chipman said.

"It has been my experience in life, not just in this business, that when you can surround yourself with highly competent people that also possess a high level of character, that's what you strive to achieve," Chipman said. "In both Paul and Kevin, I believe we've done that.

"They're both wonderful guys to work with and very, very good at their trade and care very deeply about what they're doing. When you can align with those kinds of people and then give them the confidence they can do their job by granting them the necessary term, that allows you to ultimately have success."

Maurice, 50, will begin his fifth season with the Jets. He is 136-112-33 in 281 games since replacing Claude Noel on Jan. 12, 2014.  Last season, the Jets finished fifth in the Central Division with 87 points, and were seven points behind the Nashville Predators for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

"From the very first conversation that I had with Kevin a couple of days before I took the job, every part of his plan was laid out and that included me being a part of this organization," Maurice told the Jets website. "I'm really pleased to be able to do that going forward. We're excited about how it's unfolded, the direction we're going in, and we're excited about being a part of it."

In 2014-15, Maurice's first full season with the Jets, they went 43-26-13 and were the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference, but lost in four games to the Anaheim Ducks in the first round.

Maurice has coached the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs. He led the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Final in 2002, when Carolina lost to the Detroit Red Wings in five games. Maurice is tied with Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock for 16th in NHL history with 596 wins, and his 1,365 games are 11th.

Video: Jets extending contracts to Maurice and Cheveldayoff

"Paul Maurice is a real leader," Cheveldayoff said. "You can see that within the room, you can see that with the players, and talking with the players at the end of the year during their exit meetings in very candid conversations. Overwhelmingly, the players were in great support of Paul, which was great to hear, because from my perspective he's done some things that we've asked him to do that maybe a lot of veteran coaches would not look at. He's put himself behind the needs of the team as opposed to in front of the needs of the team.

"Ultimately I'm looking for some great success with him together. I'm excited to be able to talk about this and have him announced alongside me. I'm looking forward to many more years of pushing this team forward."

Veteran Jets forward Blake Wheeler was happy to hear the news as well.

"For me, he's been the best coach I've had," Wheeler said after an informal skate at Bell MTS Iceplex. "I've learned the most under him in a lot of different ways. There's a lot more that goes into it than what you see on the ice. I've grown up a lot as a man as well. He's a dad of three and I'm a dad of three now, so we've had some interesting conversations about that and what to expect. The on-ice stuff as well, the proof is there. Look at my game when Paul got here to where it is now. Look at Mark Scheifele, look at Jacob Trouba and you just start to see the improvement.  Nikolaj Ehlers, Patrik Laine, these are guys that are growing in a short period of time.

"I think, across the board, everyone is happy with the job he's done with what has been asked of him. Now it's time to take another step." 

Cheveldayoff, 47, was hired by the Jets on June 8, 2011, less than two weeks after they relocated from Atlanta.

"First of all, couldn't be more excited on behalf of my family and myself," he said. "This is an exciting moment for us. We put a lot of effort, a lot of hard work, a lot of time into doing the things we've done with respect to drafting and developing and retaining. There have been a lot of sacrifices along the way where maybe you put your family second or do different things to make sure the job gets done.

"This is very rewarding, it's very humbling, and it's a real honor to be part of the True North family for the future."

In six seasons under Cheveldayoff, the Jets are 216-191-51 and reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2015. His initial contract with Winnipeg was extended for five years in September 2013.

Before being hired by the Jets, he spent two seasons as assistant general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, including 2010, when the Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in six games in the Cup Final. correspondent Scott Billeck contributed to this report

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