Saturday, March 19, 2011

Five Reasons to Bring Back the Winnipeg Jets

Unless you've been living under a bridge, or a rock, or something large enough to shield you from society, you probably know something about the potential return of hockey to Winnipeg. If you don't know anything, have a look at this, this, or even this. I won't pretend that those articles are enough to explain the whole situation, or that I'm an expert. I will, however, take the time to give you five good reasons why the Jets should come back.

1. MORE HOCKEY IN CANADA: With the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes being delayed by the Goldwater Institute, Canada moves closer to reclaiming the franchise it lost during tough economic times. Don't get me wrong, the six Canadian NHL teams are doing just fine. From the perspective of a hockey fan, the teams are entertaining (save Ottawa post-deadline and the untimely injury of Daniel Alfredsson) and the future is relatively bright for on ice success. However, it's always nice to have the Hockey Night in Canada lineup not dominated by Montreal or Toronto.

2. THE WINNIPEG WHITE OUT: Props to the Phoenix Coyotes fans who have continued the tradition of blinding the opposition with a sea of white towels and t-shirts. If there's one thing I remember about the Jets, aside from getting Kris Draper for a dollar, it's that mass of fans screaming at the top of their lungs clad in the brightest white these eyes have ever seen.

3. JETS APPAREL: That classic logo is one of the more memorable things to come from the WHA. While there have been murmurs of the Winnipeg team not necessarily being called the Jets, it would be a pretty big blunder not to include the retro jerseys of yesteryear in the comeback. Retro and alternative jerseys are a huge market to fans and logic says Jets gear would go over big. Maybe not in Phoenix.

4. SHANE DOAN: It would be a dream come true for Winnipeg Jets fans to see their last player return with the team. As the last remaining Jet and captain of the Phoenix Coyotes, Doan has popularity with the fans and would finally receive the kind of press that he deserves. A Canadian born captain returning with a relocated Canadian team sounds very, very marketable to me. Not to mention he can play.

5. THE DIVISION SHUFFLE: Perhaps the most self serving reason on this list, a Jet return could mean a big shuffle in the divisions of the NHL. Moving the Jets from Phoenix's spot in the Pacific Division into the Northwest Division with the other three Canadian teams of the West might prompt more shuffling that could include Detroit getting a chance to move into the Eastern Conference and finally get a chance to play some more meaningful rivals. As huge a rivalry as Detroit vs. Nashville is, with it's immense eleven year history full of meaningful games, wouldn't it be wiser to place Detroit in a division with, say, the Canadiens and Maple Leafs? No? Well, off the soapbox I come.

The return of the Jets is still a long shot today, but the coming weeks are going to be important when it comes to the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes. Should the 'Yotes stay put, Manitobans will turn their attention to the league's other struggling team, the Atlanta Thrashers. This would definitely be a less meaningful purchase, but at this point the hockey fans of Manitoba will take what they can get.

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