The very first hockey game I watched live was in Winnipeg. I was probably 6 years old at the time and my dad had taken my brother and I to see a Jets game. And that was it. A life time fan was born. Tore my heart out when the team moved to fucking Phoenix back in '96. I sure as hell wasn't going to cheer for the fucking Coyotes. By that time I was living in Ontario and I was happy to find a suitable replacement right in my own province. A team that was only a few years old but had demonstrated that they would pick up talent from anywhere in the world. Yes, the Ottawa Senators was the spiritual successor to the Jets and was a natural selection. And much like the Jets, there were many trips to the playoffs but always a disappointment at the end.
It was a good run. No cup but plenty of entertainment. But now, the Jets are back. The NHL, in their infinite wisdom, wouldn't let the Coyotes leave their money pit of a situation in Phoenix but barely noticed when the Atlanta Thrashers were purchased and relocated to Winnipeg. So it's not the original team returning but we'll take professional hockey any way we can get it. The new logo may be an emotionless, graphic arts project but it's still great to have hockey back in Winnipeg.
And last night was my first opportunity to see the reborn Jets play live. And I got to see them play against my fill-in team, the Ottawa Senators. I was happy to see so many Jets jerseys at Scotia Bank Place. Senators fans are nothing if not accommodating of opposing team fans. It was a little strange to cheer against a team I'd been so emotionally invested in for the past 15 years but I got over it by the second period.
The team shows promise. They're going to get a honeymoon pass for the season so they can suck all they want but we do want to see promise for the next year. Byfuglien is a beast with a wicked slap shot but a fast skater, he is not. Hard to blame the goalie for the goals he let in. I'm most concerned with the coaching moves. The goalie was pulled with 5 minutes left to play which was very confusing. But everybody looked like they were skating hard and generating opportunities. It was a good game to see.
Even though we lost.
But I don't really mind that they lost to the Sens. They were a great team to cheer for the last 15 years and I'll always pull for them in the Battle of Ontario (yes the Leaf hatred remains). But the Jets are back! They may not be a great team but they're mine!