Craig Heisinger has come a long way since the days of equipment manager for the Winnipeg Jets. Today was a special day for him as he was named Vice President of Hockey Operations & Assistant GM of The Currently Unnamed Winnipeg NHL Franchise.
Deciding to start a career in hockey, is similar to moving to LA to get into showbiz. Naturally, Zinger’s parents weren’t too keen when they heard about his career aspirations
“I remember that talk very vividly, there were not a lot of times where my dad sat down on the couch and looked at me the way he did that day.”
While Zinger’s passion was for hockey, his parents wanted him to try something more conventional.
“I remember thinking I wanted to give hockey a try; they wanted me to try an apprenticeship”
“My dad was a pipe fitter with the CNR and I had an opportunity to be an apprentice at a small airline and gave it a try for a small period of time, but it was going nowhere.”
“Hockey was something I had a passion for, I wanted to try it, I gave myself a 3 year window to give it a try, and it all seemed to work”
Comparing today’s announcement to being named GM of the Moose in 2002
“Well its different, I remember in 02 I was really concerned about perception, I was 3 years removed for an equipment guy, as much respect as I have for that position, I wasn’t 100% sure if everybody else did, and now the young players don’t even know my background.”
“I’ve always had the attitude I’ve had to work every day to earn peoples respect, I’ve never tried to demand it, I feel more comfortable and confident today than I did in 2002.”
Heisinger considered taking the top job, but ultimately felt that the tandem of Heisinger and Cheveldayoff gave them the strongest management team
“I just feel 100% at the end of the day I’ve always been a Kevin Cheveldayoff fan, for a long period of time, I think this structure the way it is laid out now, gives us the opportunity for success, I’m so behind Chevy, I’m sure if you ask Mark the same question, I think this gives us the strongest management team and the best chance for success.”
It’s an incredible story coming from equipment manager to VP of Hockey Operations & Assistant GM. It is clear that Heisinger, is aware of his roots, and knows that in order to move forward he’ll have to continue to work as hard as he has throughout his career. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing about the Heisinger & Cheveldayoff duo for years to come.
Listen to the media scrum with Craig Heisinger here