I will always remember walking out of the old Winnipeg Arena after the funeral. Thousands of men and women openly weeping, mourning for the loss of their beloved hockey team. My friend turned to me and said “In 15 years the NHL will be back in Winnipeg.”
I told him he was carzy and that we would never see NHL hockey back in our lifetime. I was wrong.
I love being wrong.
Tonight, after 15 long years, the NHL is officially back in Winnipeg tonight in the form of a spilt squad game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Nothing will trump the emotion of the Oct 9th opener, but this game will help to finally close the wounds that have been festering in Winnipeg this past decade and a half. Winnipeg will be whole again.
Chants of Go Jets Go will ring through the MTS centre. Children of all ages will marvel at the sights and sounds of big league hockey. Old and new Winnipeg Jets jerseys and T-shirts will fill the seats. Those that were lucky enough to get tickets for the game will be part of an atmosphere that most sports fans will never experience.
Even though Winnipeg thrived over the past 15 years, something was missing. Winnipeg was just a minor league city in the eyes of the world. Yes, it had a booming economy. Yes, it had rediscovered its pride. Yet there was still a small piece of its soul missing.
Since the announcement that the Thrashers would be coming to the River City, that small piece of the city’s soul has been slowly growing. Tonight, with the eyes of the world watching Winnipeg, the NEW Winnipeg finally gets to show all the promise and potential that its citizens have known about for years.
Tonight’s score doesn’t matter and, it could be argued, that at least for this year no scores will really matter. Winnipeg and its citizens will begin a year long party in celebration of being back in the big leagues.
Oct 9th is the big day, but this is just another piece of the puzzle that has been long overdue in coming together.
There is no one left wondering “can they do it”?
All that is left to say is ”Look what they did.”
Category: Jets News