June 8, 2011 / 10:05 PM / 6 years ago

Winnipeg names Blackhawks official as its new GM

TORONTO (Reuters) - Winnipeg’s new NHL team has named Chicago Blackhawks official Kevin Cheveldayoff as its new executive vice president and general manager, the team said on Wednesday.

<p>Kevin Cheveldayoff speaks with the media after being introduced as the general manager of Winnipeg's NHL franchise in Winnipeg, June 8, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Greenslade</p>

Cheveldayoff served as the Blackhawks’ assistant general manager and senior director of hockey operations for the last two years.

He said in a statement he hoped to make the team, the former Atlanta Thrashers, “a contender for years to come”.

True North Sports and Entertainment bought the franchise last week and relocated it to Winnipeg. It will begin play in the NHL next season.

All that remains to complete the sale of the team is approval of the NHL board of governors, who will meet on June 21 in New York.

Winnipeg, which would become the NHL’s smallest market, was home to the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association before the team joined the NHL in 1979.

The Jets played for 17 years in the NHL before moving to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1996 because of financial losses related to an outdated arena, spiraling NHL salaries and a weak Canadian dollar.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

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