Game #14: Winnipeg Jets (March 26, 2015)
March 27, 2015
I have made it a point to purchase all of my own hockey tickets, but I’ve received a few kind offers along my travels. One of those offers was from a Jets season ticket holder by the name of Dorian Cox. Dorian heard about my adventure about a week ago, and extended an offer to take me to the Jets-Canadiens game, a ticket which was otherwise very hard to find. (Dorian, by the way, was the first person to answer all 10 questions correctly in my hockey trivia contest.)
Dorian suggested we meet up at a place called the Pint, which was located about 1 1/2 blocks from the MTS Centre. Great spot to meet before (or after) a hockey game – most of the seats were filled with Jets fans, but a few Habs fans were in the crowd. I also met up with a work colleague’s sister (Jean Gendron) who presented me with a Jets cap, and wished me well on my trip.
We arrived at the game early, and wow – what an impressive facility. Jets fans have a special building, one which like most of the modern rinks, has lots of windows allowing in light and life into the building. While low in seat count, it is one of the roomiest rinks I’ve been at so far, with lots of room in the corridors, and plenty of places to hang out before (or after) the game, and during the intermissions. Few line-ups for food or drink, and lots of places to sit or stand, and plenty of options for epicurean delights or libations. (I also rubbed the boot of the Timothy Eaton statue, which is supposed to bring the home team good luck.)
It was highly recommended that I try a Jumbo Jet Dog, and I ordered one with all the fixings ($15.50). I shared a cut-in-half version with my seat-mate, but pictured below you will see the whole deal. Absolutely delicious, but not something you want to eat every day! After settling into my seat, Jets Mascot (Mick E. Moose) gave me a thumbs up for doing the 30games-30nights trip!
As for the action on the ice, the Jets were facing the first overall team in the NHL (at puck-drop time) – the Montreal Canadiens, and this ordinarily boisterous Jets crowd was joined by about 2,000 Habs fans. (*Noteworthy that at the time of this writing, there are six teams within two points of each other at the top of the league standings.)
This is the third time I’ve watched the Jets play in my trip so far, and the Jets have impressed me with their hard physical play, strong forechecking – probably the hardest working team I’ve watched so far in my journey. I was commenting to a few people that there were no fights in the first 13 games of my trip, but sure enough, in game #14, Nathan Beaulieu and Jim Slater dropped their gloves. (Slater already had a goal and assist in the game, so methinks he was looking for the Gordie Howe hat trick.) Fighting is definitely down this season, and while fans get out of their seats when a fight occurs, the game is not missing anything without fights taking place. Indeed, fewer and fewer teams have a designated pugilist on their roster, a guy who can only play 3-4 minutes a night.
The Jets won the game in impressive fashion, by a score of 5-2, and for all five goals scored by the home team, I think this was about the loudest cheering I’ve heard in my trip so far. And for the last 5-10 minutes of the game (with the Jets seemingly in control), the Jets fans had a bit of fun with the Habs fans, singing “O lay O lay O lay,” and “Na na na…goodbye,” All in good fun!
There are no cheerleaders or ice girls at a Jets game, but their ice-cleaners use the “Flying V” strategy for cleaning the ice at the commercial breaks. Interesting thing about banners at the Jets rink. There are no banners honouring their past great players (i.e. Bobby Hull, Dale Hawerchuk, Thomas Steen, etc.), just the banners you see below.
Another thing I have to add about Jets fans. While fans at past games have been great, the Jets fans are the friendliest fans I’ve met in any hockey building. I was really looking forward to seeing a game in Winnipeg, and it did not disappoint. I’m cheering for the Jets to make the playoffs, and if they do, look out! They would be a tough opponent in a best of seven series.
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