After 15 long season in pro hockey abyss the Jets soared back into Winnipeg and made this small prairie burg a big league town once again. The first season of the new Jets era has given hockey fans some great moments, so in honour of the Jets first season back in the Peg, here are the top 5 moments from season one of Jets 2.0
1 The announcement
When Marc Chipman stood at the podium at MTS Centre and announced his “purchase of the
Atlanta Thrashers” it set off an all day party at The Forks and Portage and Main. People danced
in the rain, total strangers embraced and euphoria ruled the streets of Winnipeg.
2 First Game
It was arguably the most anticipated sporting event in the city's history. On October 9. 2011 the new Jets hit the ice for their first ever regular season home game. The crowd noise was deafening even during the pre-game warm up. The Jets lost but it didn't matter. They were back and Winnipeg was whole once again.
3 Draft Party/ Name Reveal
With the Jets set to pick 7th overall, the True North group held a draft watching party at the MTS Centre and gave hockey fans the news they wanted to hear. Mark Chipman stood at the podium in Minneapolis and then passed the podium to GM Kevin Cheveldayoff “on behalf of the Winnipeg Jets.” People screamed and grown men wept. It was real- the Jets were back.
4 First Goal
When Nic Antropov scored at 2:27 of the third period of the very first Jets game of the new era, it was the first time that the Winnipeg Jets put a goal on the board since Norm MacIver scored way back in April of 1996, at the old barn. There will be thousands of pretty plays and beautiful goals in the years to come but this was always be remembered as the first ever goal for the new Jets.
5 Teemu Returns
It was the game that many hockey fans had marked on their calendar. Winnipeg's favourite son was returning home one last time and we were going to let him know that we had not forgot him. Teemu received deafening applause all night and chocked on his emotions at many points during the evening. He did one final lap at the end of the game for the fans that had always been so good to him.
6 Every Home Game
Well this is not a specific moment but the fact is-every home game at MTS Centre has been an event. From the “True North” chant during the national anthem to the Go Jets Go chants reigning down on the players, the atmosphere at every game has been electric. Teams from all over the league have marvelled at the Winnipeg crowds and Jets fans have made it loud and clear why Winnipeg belongs in the NHL.
7 First Pre-Season game
It may have only been a preseason game but it had a Stanley Cup Final atmosphere. September 20, 2011 was the first ever time that the new Jets played at home and the team finally got a taste of the MTS Centre crowd and what they were in for all season long.
8 The Queen emerges
The massive painting of the Queen was a staple of the old Winnipeg Arena but she would not be descending on the MTS Centre, so when a random fan in the upper deck began dressing up like Her Majesty, it immediately got attention, not only from the home crowd but all over the nation on CBC and TSN.
9 Jersey Reveal
When the Jets revealed their new jerseys with much pomp and circumstance at the air force base in Winnipeg it ended months of speculation and revealed a simple, classy and timeless jersey. After the reveal jerseys flew off the shelves. The new look was a hit.
10 Rick Rypien Tribute
After the tragic suicide of newly signed Rick Rypien, the Jets organization showed their class by honouring his life at the first regular season game. A classy and moving tribute played on the score board as Rypien's mom watched with Mark Chipman from the corner of the rink. True North showed the nation that this is an organization that will be run with class.