April 22 2008 06:15PM
The hockey world lost a damn good man today with the passing of Ed Chynoweth. Chynoweth, 66, who served as president of the WHL from 1972-95 and returned junior hockey to the City of Champions in 1996 as owner of the expansion Edmonton Ice, has died of kidney cancer. It's a loss that touches the entire hockey world, including the Edmonton Oilers—notably Jarret Stoll, who played for Chynoweth with Edmonton's short-lived version of the Ice and won a Memorial Cup as captain of the team in 2002, when they were the Kootenay Ice. "It's a sad day, for sure," said Stoll, who is in California. "I just remember him being a class-act in every situation and whenever I got to spend some time with him. He was such a nice man. He loved the game." Many remember Chynoweth as a great administrator and builder of the game. He certainly was that. Chynoweth was WHL chairman of the board right up until he passed. He was president of the CHL for 20 years. There's no questioning his credentials. It was Chynoweth's gutsy bid to bring the WHL back to the city of Edmonton I remember, even if the venture was doomed to fail because of the refusal of Oilers owner Peter Pocklington to offer anything resembling co-operation. Pocklington saw the Ice as competition. Chynoweth moved the team to Cranbrook for the 1998–99 season. The Ice won WHL titles in 2000 and 2002, when Stoll and his teammates hoisted the hardware in Guelph. "For his organization to go through all the tough times like it did and for him to stick with it and then win like that, it was satisfying," Stoll said. "We had great teams there. Those are good memories. "He lived in Calgary, but he was always around and he was always there for the guys who needed him. He made sure everything was run smoothly and done properly. Ed and his family made it a classy organization." As president of the Ice, Chynoweth and his son Jeff, the team's vice-president and GM, built one of the most successful WHL franchises of the last decade. More than that, Chynoweth was good to his players. He cared. Fact is, Chynoweth was good to a lot of people, including those of us toting notepads around the WHL in the early 1980s. He was always approachable, even with scribes like me looking to whine about officials or nag about the issues of the day. "He was well respected by everybody," said Stoll. "He did a lot for junior hockey in Canada. He was an ambassador for the game. Having the trophy for the WHL champion named after him kind of speaks for itself." I'll never forget how proud Chynoweth was in 1987 and 1988 when, as CHL president, he presented the Memorial Cup to the Medicine Hat Tigers. His son, Dean, was the captain of those teams. Ed Chynoweth was an honest, decent gentleman. He had big ideas. He had a big heart. He was a man ahead of his time. Hockey will miss him. —Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.