Wow, i never thought i would see the NHL return to Winnipeg Manitoba. 21 years ago, i made my one and only visit to this city - often referenced as the curling capital of the world. I attended the old Winnipeg Arena and watched the Jets play a game against Mark Messier and the Edmonton Oilers (this was the year Edmonton won their only post-gretzky era cup). 6 years later, the Jets closed up shop and moved to Arizona.
Well, after years of supporting minor hockey, the city gets a new building, a new team, and a new logo. Equally as exciting is the announcement that this new team's feeder system will include a minor pro team in St. John's - the St. John's Ice Caps!
There is a buzz here in St. John's for sure, and a recent exhibition game featuring the Jets here was so popular that tickets had to be held back and awarded via lottery system. after growing up in Toronto in the 80s and 90s, where the NHL and OHL were a frequent part of my life, i lost interest in the sport after the 2004 work stoppage. But with these two teams coming to form, i have a big of a renewed interest in Canada's national sport. As the Jets opened their season yesterday afternoon on national tv, for the first time in decades, i found myself flipping back and forth from NFL to NHL on a sunday afternoon.
Although i have declared myself a Pittsburgh Penguins fan since the mid 90s (due to my admiration of Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, and later - Nova Scotian Sidney Crosby), i can't help but feel a sense of excitement and loyalty for the Winnipeg/St. John's franchise. I have found a renewed interest in this sport for the first time in 7 years, and i look forward to tuning in to follow the progress of this team.