The last two years have been an emotional roller coaster for anyone in the city hoping for the return of the Winnipeg Jets. Starting with rumours as early as May of 2010 that the Phoenix Coyotes may be moving back to Winnipeg, the city was whipped into a frenzy, that was only fueled by rumours flying around, not only in the mainstream media, but also on facebook, twitter and by countless bloggers all claiming that they had the big scoop on whether or not the Jets were really coming back.
The funniest part of the whole scenario was that people obsessed over the situation in Phoenix, while all the while it would be the Atlanta Thrashers who would move to Winnipeg and become the Winnipeg Jets.
Well the Jets are back now and all is right in the city of Winnipeg. The last five months in the city have been arguably the most exciting months for sports in the history of the city. In one beautiful, mosquito free summer, we knew that our beloved Jets would be back to play in October and like a sweet cherry on top of our ice cream the Bombers had one of their most successful summers in franchise history.
One of my greatest memories of this new and very young Jets era was the NHL draft party held at the MTS Center on July 24th. It was such a great feeling to walk into that Arena and see all the fans decked out in their jerseys and hearing the buzz in the crowd. It brought back memories of attending Jets games at the old Winnipeg Arena. The atmosphere at the old Arena during the whiteouts was something you could only understand if you were there, and videos and youtube clips really do no justice to how loud it really was in the old barn. But hey, it's the next best thing so why don't we all sit back and watch a video of what many believe was the greatest and loudest moment in the history of the old Winnipeg Arena. Dave Ellett's famous double overtime goal.
So anyways back to the draft party--It gave us the moment we had all been waiting for. Mark Chipman went up to the podium and asked GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to make the first pick "on behalf of the Winnipeg Jets. It was all the people in the stands needed to hear and the building exploded. At that moment it was real. The Winnipeg Jets are back
It has been speculated that the True North people considered going with a different name and I can understand why. The old Jets were a money losing franchise that played in an outdated Arena and missed the playoffs as much as they made them. The old Jets also struggled with a bad reputation, as many players simply did not want to play here.
Despite all that the emotional attachment that the fans had to the name and the brand was far to great and the fans made it clear from the start that they wanted to cheer for one team only and that was the Winnipeg Jets. Calling the team anything else would have turned into a marketing disaster,as fans at the MTS Center would have been chanting Go Jets Go no matter what they called the team.
But this will be a new Winnipeg Jets. The team has deep pocketed owners and will play in a state of the art building. True North will make this a team that players will want to play for and will treat it's players and staff first class the same way they did for 15 years with the Manitoba Moose. If you have any doubts about this exciting and first class new era of the Jets just check out this video of the new jerseys being unveiled.
I can only imagine what the scene will be like on opening night when the Jets take on the Montreal Canadiens. A fifteen year wait will be released on these players and it will be like nothing they have ever experienced before. The NHL is back where it belongs and this time it's not going anywhere
Welcome back Winnipeg Jets!!