Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Championship Trophy Renamed to Honour Chynoweth

Here's something I found today from the Vancouver Province newspaper...

I've had the chance to meet Ed Chynoweth a handful of times and I'm always a little in awe. He just has this presence that consumes the room. I was pleased to know he's a regular listener of our Bronco broadcasts through the internet to check up on how Dean's team is doing. You can find him in Cranbrook just right of the broadcast booth in his suite surrounded by family and friends.

Here's the story from Ben Kuzma:

Honour and concern for Chynoweth
WHL's legendary former boss is feted as he battles with kidney cancer
Ben Kuzma, The ProvincePublished: Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ed Chynoweth was hard pressed to find a more meaningful moment in his 36-year association with the WHL.

In a weekend gathering of his major junior hockey peers at the Vancouver Aquarium, Chynoweth was shocked to learn the WHL championship trophy has been re-named in his honour. Previously known as the President's Cup, it's now the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

"I was totally taken by surprise and it certainly was a pleasant one," said the 65-year-old Dodsland, Sask., native, who served as WHL president for 23 years and is majority owner of the Kootenay Ice.
"Usually, I'd like to think that I know what's going on in our league."

What's going on in Chynoweth's personal battle after being diagnosed with kidney cancer in December isn't something the league's former board chairman -- and former Canadian Hockey League president for 20 years -- chooses to publicize. That's not his style.

The charismatic champion of many junior causes would rather talk pucks than pills. He's proud of implementing the WHL's guaranteed education fund, convincing teams in the early 1980s to release players to the world junior tournament and helping amalgamate the country's three league's into the CHL.

However, the outpouring of support for Chynoweth is one of many good-news stories at the Memorial Cup. He can't take many steps at the Pacific Coliseum without friends -- and even former foes -- cornering him to offer well wishes.

"The support has been unbelievable and the hockey community is a family," said Chynoweth. "I got the jolt and it certainly gives you a different outlook on how fragile life can be. At this point, it's not life threatening, as far as I know, and we're treating it."
Chemotherapy isn't the normal approach with kidney cancer. It's either treat it with pills or remove it. There are two new pills on the market and Chynoweth takes one a day for a 28-day cycle and then goes off the medication for 14 days. He then has a CAT-scan.

"The pill cuts off the blood and shrinks the cancer," said Chynoweth, who has completed two cycles and is scheduled for two more before a decision will be made about kidney removal. "The area they [doctors] are concerned about is when I was diagnosed, it had started to spread to my spine."
The danger there is the cancer metastasizing to the bone.

As for the WHL, Chynoweth sees a danger in increased costs, depleting a player pool with expansion Edmonton starting play this fall to push the league to 22 franchises. And he's most passionate about creating a form of revenue sharing so the guaranteed education fund -- a year of tuition, fees and books for each year of WHL service -- can continue to be a league staple. When the Estevan Bruins relocated to New Westminster in 1971, they had one player taking a correspondence course.

What started out as a $1,000 commitment per player has risen to $5,300 and smaller franchises are finding it harder to honour the plan. Chynoweth favours a form of revenue sharing where, once team operating costs are covered, funds are put in a pool for education.

"This fund is one of the best things we've done and I tried to sell this to the owners on five different occasions and got turned down," recalled Chynoweth.
"Costs keep going up and up. I proposed this revenue sharing for the last year and a half. There's been such a change in our league and we mirror the NHL in so many ways.
"One thing they have in the NHL is revenue sharing and it's back on our agenda for the annual meeting."

As much as Chynoweth lauds the success of the Memorial Cup in Vancouver -- it has already established record tournament attendance -- he worries about smaller centres and the creation of a two-tiered league.

"We see big buildings and dollar signs and everybody gets excited," he said. "But we've got to remember what makes this league tick. We can't lose sight of our roots in regard to our mid-size franchises.
"Kamloops, Kelowna, Red Deer, Saskatoon and Regina have been a key part of our league."

For now, Chynoweth should put those concerns on the back burner. This is his time to reflect, get healthy and celebrate his trophy with family and friends.

"I like to think I eat, sleep and drink junior hockey," he said. "I've made mistakes as other people have, but the only other highlight comparable to this would be in 1988 when I got a chance to present the Memorial Cup to my son, Dean, who was captain of the Medicine Hat Tigers."


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