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Kevin Cheveldayoff says the season felt like it was incomplete: Jets end of season media availability

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Photo credit:© Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
1 month ago
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As you may or may not know, today is the end of season media availability for the Winnipeg Jets. Earlier today, I covered what Connor Hellebuyck had to say during his time speaking to the media. After a few more sets of players and a chat with coach Rich Bowness, the final media availability was done with Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. This was the media’s final chance before the off-season begins to talk with the Jets GM, who recapped the season and looked ahead to what comes next for the team before the 2024-25 season begins.
The GM’s end of season availability tends to be the longest of them all, simply because they don’t meet with the media as regularly as the players and coaches do after every game. Cheveldayoff spoke with the media for around 30 minutes, and there was a lot to cover. I decided to cover and analyze some of the more interesting comments that Cheveldayoff made in terms of summarizing the season. Although the season has just freshly ended, there were a few comments made by Cheveldayoff about what could happen to the team in the off-season.
The very 1st question that was asked had to do with how Cheveldayoff was feeling about the season just almost 2 days after getting eliminated from the playoffs. Cheveldayoff opened things off about the season when he said
“I think the word that comes to mind is incomplete. You know, it’s something here that we obviously have to process and that’s part of the timing here right now. Talking to all the players, we still have a bunch to talk with and go through. Their comments are really thoughtful and still probably incomplete as well because you know it’s only been whatever, 48 hours, since the series ended.
It’s fair to understand that the players need some more time to process the season after just being eliminated from the playoffs. Each individual player will take the time to understand what they need to do better during the summer. Part of the GM’s role is ensuring that the team collectively understands what needs to be done to improve next season. It’s fair to say that a 110 point regular season was a success, but everyone still was searching and hoping that their season would still be going.
The next main topic of discussion that caught my attention from Cheveldayoff was when he was talking about what the direction of the team could be for the next season. Taking into consideration what some of the players have told him, Cheveldayoff said
“Ya, so again, I think they all understand, they know the business side of the game. We have some UFAs to deal with, we have some RFAs to deal with, so they don’t get into that so much. I think this group liked each other, believed in each other, [that] was some of the common themes… we need to push each other in the off-season here.”
There’s a lot more details that could have been said about the pending free agents, but it’s still too early to think about that. Cheveldayoff said what he could overall about the business aspect of hockey, something the players don’t often openly talk about with the media. The key about assembling the team for next season is ensuring the same energy and commitment that the team had during the regular season. A difficult part of being a GM must be considering things such as how any given move will affect the team’s chemistry, but again, that’s just part of the business behind it.
The final question that stood out to me came later in the media availability. I’ve talked enough about the tougher questions such as what the team needs to do better or what didn’t work, but here Cheveldayoff reflected on what went well. Colorado Avalanche’s coach Jared Bednar was praising the Jets organization after game 5, including the job that Cheveldayoff did to help put this team together. Reflecting on what Cheveldayoff thought that he’s shown the league this year, and reflecting on the reputation of the Jets organization, he said
“As an organization, all we’ve ever wanted to do, obviously we want to win [that’s a given], but we certainly [want to give] a sense a pride to the city of Winnipeg, for all our fans, it’s important. This city is unique, obviously it’s one of the smaller markets in the National Hockey League… in our small market the emotion keeps coming back.”
That’s the part of being a GM that often doesn’t get spoken about enough. Having the role of assisting in creating the team, you get the chance, as Cheveldayoff has, to reflect on what the team means to the city they play in and for the fans all around the world. The smaller market in Winnipeg might not compare to some of the hockey giant cities around the league, but the fans are just as passionate as any and you can see that on full display during the Winnipeg Whiteouts in the playoffs. Winning is one thing, but being there for your fans can be just as important to the organization’s reputation in the league.
There were many other questions and answers throughout this very interesting end of season media availability with Cheveldayoff, but those observations stood out to me the most. Fans were probably still left without some more specific answers for certain players futures, but part of being a GM is not revealing too much at one time. That being said, what Cheveldayoff did share today with the media will give them and Jets fans plenty to reflect on throughout the course of the next few weeks. Only time will tell to see what moves are made this off-season.
To check out the full media availability with GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, check it out on IllegalCurve.com or on YouTube.

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