October 16, 1962 |
Winnipeg, MB, CAN
|Occupation||Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations, Winnipeg Jets (NHL)
Senior Vice President, True North Sports & Entertainment Limited
General Manager, St. John's IceCaps (AHL)
Craig Heisinger (born October 16, 1962) is a Canadian ice hockey executive. He is the assistant general manager and director of hockey operations for the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League and senior vice president of True North Sports and Entertainment. Heisinger is also the general manager of the St. John's IceCaps, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Jets.
Equipment manager and trainer
Heisinger began his career in hockey as the equipment manager of the Fort Garry South Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) in 1978–79. After two season with the Blues, he spent four years (1980–1984) with the Winnipeg Warriors of the Western Hockey League (WHL) and another four years (1984–1988) with the Brandon Wheat Kings, also of the WHL.
Heisinger made the jump to the NHL when he joined the Winnipeg Jets as assistant equipment manager. Two years later, he was promoted to equipment manager and served in that capacity until the Jets left for Phoenix, Arizona in 1996. Heisinger, who had a young family at the time, decided not to move with the team. Instead, he accepted an offer to be the equipment manager for Winnipeg's new International Hockey League team, the Manitoba Moose. Heisinger served as the equipment manager of the Moose for three seasons.
Heisinger's first international stint came in 1988, when he served as a trainer for Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Moscow, where Canada won the gold medal. In 1997, he was a member of Team Canada's training staff at the World Ice Hockey Championships, where Canada also won gold. In his most prominent international role, he was selected as the Equipment Manager for Canada's men's ice hockey team at the 1998 Winters Olympics in Nagano, Japan, the first Olympics in which NHL players were allowed to compete.
In 1999, after three seasons as equipment manager, the Moose promoted Heisinger to assistant general manager under Randy Carlyle. On July 15, 2002, Heisinger was promoted to general manager when Carlyle left to join the coaching staff of the Washington Capitals. Heisinger spent nine seasons as general manager of the Moose, the longest tenure of any Moose general manager. He was also named senior vice president after True North Sports and Entertainment (TNSE) acquired the team in 2003.
With Heisinger as general manager, the Moose made the playoffs eight of nine seasons. In 2008-09, the Moose had their best season in franchise history, winning 50 games and finishing first overall in the regular season. The team went all the way to Calder Cup finals, but lost to the Hershey Bears in six games. Heisinger was named the winner of the James C. Hendy Memorial Award as the most outstanding executive in the AHL that season.
In May 2011, TNSE purchased the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers and relocated them to Winnipeg less than a month later, renaming them the Winnipeg Jets. Heisinger was named the director of hockey operations and assistant general manager of the new Jets on June 8, 2011, working under new general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. He continues to hold the titles of senior vice-president for TNSE and general manager of its AHL team, which was relocated and rechristened as the St. John's IceCaps in June 2011.
Heisinger and his wife Vickie live in Winnipeg. They have four sons: Jake, Mack, Tucker and Zachery.
- "Heisinger’s incredible journey". Winnipeg Sun. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
- "Two Prairie boys to lead Winnipeg's NHL team". The Globe and Mail. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
- "The man who never gave up on the Winnipeg Jets". MacLeans.ca. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- "Blue Collar Hockey". Winnipeg Free Press. 9 June 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2011.