Winnipeg Jets: Satire meets reality when Kevin Cheveldayoff speaks

I love satire. Big fan of satire.

What I enjoy most about satire is that you can be as cheeky, as sarcastic and as disposed to irreverence as you choose and nobody takes you seriously. At least they shouldn’t, because satire is meant to be a light-hearted bit of flippancy that delivers a message without the use of a literary sledge hammer.

Grand Master Kevin Cheveldayoff
Grand Master Kevin Cheveldayoff

And so it was in July 2014 when I posted a satirical bit headlined Winnipeg Jets: We take you to the year 2025. Here’s how it began:

We now take you to the year 2025, where Kevin Cheveldayoff is holding court with new scavengers after the Winnipeg Jets have failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup tournament for the 14th straight National Hockey League season…

Paul Friesen, Winnipeg Sun: “Chevy, when do you expect this team to make the playoffs, if ever?”

Chevy: “As you know Paul, we are following the draft-and-develop blueprint we established in 2011, and we won’t deviate from that plan. We cannot deviate from that plan. The plan is fluid. It has no time frame.”

Friesen: “You didn’t answer my question, Chevy.”

Chevy: “I believe I did answer your question, Paul. It just wasn’t the answer you wanted to hear.”

It was a joke. My quirky way of taking a jab at co-bankroll Mark Chipman’s yes-man Cheveldayoff, who generally manages the Jets. Little did I know then that real life would imitate Tom foolery less than two years after the fact.

Here’s what went down in reality on Monday when Cheveldayoff held a chin-wag with the buzzards of jock journalism, who assembled and sought to poke at the carcass left behind from yet another NHL crusade in which the Jets were found to be wating in numerous areas…

Paul Friesen: “A lot of people would see five years as a reasonable time to build, maybe not a Stanley Cup winner, but a playoff contender. You’re coming off the worst point total in your five years here, why should fans continue to have confidence in your plan?”

Chevy: “Our plan from the onset was going to be a plan that was going to draft players into the organization and help them along the way. These guys take time to develop, so we haven’t changed our thought process, we haven’t deviated from that plan. Five years in may seem obviously like a long period of time, but…”

But he didn’t answer Friesen’s question.

Basically, Cheveldayoff is telling the faithful in Jets Nation—the very people who have invested so much emotionally and financially into an outfit that retreated by 21 points in the standings—to trust him. He knows what he’s doing.

And many of you, no doubt, are drinking the Kool-Aid that the GM is serving in the Rose-Colored Tea Room, but I find it quite creepy that satire has intersected with reality.

I mean, I realize that this isn’t an exact science. It isn’t like being pregnant with a defined due date, but surely Cheveldayoff has expectations as to when the Jets will be a regular participant in the Stanley Cup derby. We know it isn’t anywhere from one to five seasons, because he’s already frittered those away. So is it next season? Does it take seven years? Nine years?

Perhaps it boils down to this: Cheveldayoff knows who he has drafted in his five kicks at the can, but he doesn’t know what he has drafted. Could be that he still isn’t sold on his own handiwork.

Oh, well, hopefully he’ll know by the year 2025. Maybe then he can deliver a straight answer.

Patti Dawn Swansson has been writing about Winnipeg sports for 45 years, longer than any living being. Do not, however, assume that to mean she harbors a wealth of sports knowledge or that she’s a jock journalist of award-winning loft. It simply means she is old and comfortable at a keyboard (although arthritic fingers sometimes make typing a bit of a chore) and she apparently doesn’t know when to quit. Or she can’t quit.
She is most proud of her Q Award, presented to her in 2012 for her scribblings about the LGBT community in Victoria, B.C., and her induction into the Manitoba Sportswriters & Sportscasters Association Media Roll of Honour in 2015.