The Calgary Hitmen announced this morning that former Kootenay Ice president and general manager Jeff Chynoweth will serve as the franchise’s new general manager.
Chynoweth’s return to the Western Hockey League comes less than three months after his family officially sold the Ice to Winnipeg investors Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell.
The Hitmen had been without a GM since May 15, when Mike Moore, who had been the vice-president of business operations and the team’s general manager since 2013, was promoted to the role of vice president and alternate governor.
In the Hitmen’s press release, Chynoweth said that the opportunity to work with Moore was a chance that he could not pass up.
“I wasn’t looking to get back to it, it’s been a long ride,” he said. “Although when Mike approached me about it, it didn’t take long for me to answer. It made sense for me and my family and I’m just overjoyed about it. First and foremost it was Mike Moore. I have a great relationship with Mike and have respected what he has done; it made it more appealing. He was the first reason why and got my attention.”
The Chynoweth family is one of the WHL’s deepest bloodlines. Jeff’s father Ed was a pioneer in Canadian junior hockey having helped form the CHL and acting as the WHL’s first president in 1972.
Ed Chynoweth also served as the GM for the WHL’s Calgary Wranglers in 1979-80, a team in which Jeff and his brother Dean worked as stick boys.
In 1996, Ed left his post as the league president to found the expansion Edmonton Ice. In 1998, the team relocated to Cranbrook in 1998 and Jeff played a prominent role in the club’s development working his way up to the GM role which he held for the past 16 seasons.
The 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons were the first time in Chynoweth’s career that the organization missed the post-season.
Chynoweth is inheriting a Hitmen team that has made the playoffs for the past six seasons. In 2016-17, the team had a 30-32-8-2 regular season record and were swept by the Regina Pats in the first round of the playoffs after squeaking in with the second Eastern Conference wild card spot.
The Hitmen also introduced Dallas Ferguson as the club’s new head coach, replacing Mark French, the head coach for the previous three seasons who accepted a position as the coach of the Fribourg-Gottéron Dragons of the National League A (NLA) in Switzerland in late May.
Ferguson had been the head coach of the NCAA Division I University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks program since 2008, having previously acted as their assistant coach since 2004.
Chynoweth’s first game on the other side of the historic Kootenay Ice/Calgary Hitmen rivalry will take place during the Ice’s home opener on September 22, 2017. The Ice have lost their past 16 games against Calgary, with their most recent victory coming on December 28, 2014.
“I am thrilled to be working in Calgary and with one of the premier organizations in the entire CHL and an organization I’ve always looked up to,” Chynoweth said. ” It’s a dream job and I can’t wait to get started.”