One of the best new traditions of the Jets return to the NHL is how the fans mercilessly boo a player on the other team. Alex Ovechkin, Chris Pronger and others have felt the wrath of the mob at the MTSC Centre. Anytime the targeted player touches the puck or makes a play the crowd sends a barrage of boos his way. Its fun and completely harmless.
Or so we thought.
In early December the Coyotes came to visit the Jets and the boo birds set their sights on Shane Doan. He was targeted for two reasons. One he is the most high profile player on the yotes and two he was less than enthusiastic when it looked like the Yotes may move back to Winnipeg.
So every time Doan touched the puck the crowd let him have it (he also got a standing O as well). Doan took it in stride and was a good sport about it. He saw it as part of the game and didn’t think it was overboard. Too bad members of the media didn’t have the same attitude. Countless pages of ink both in print and in cyberspace were dedicated to how “classless” Winnipeg Fans were. Both the Winnipeg Sun and the Winnipeg Free Press ran articles that chided and scolded fans about booing Doan.
When the Ducks came to town Gary Lawless almost came to tears when someone suggested that Selanne might be booed. He wasn’t and the fans actually did the opposite. When Temmu touched the puck he was cheered. When any other Duck touched it they were booed. It was a pretty cool display.
This past Saturday the Leafs came to town and Dion Phaneuf became the object of the fans attention. The fans also sing songly chanted the opposing goalies name as they will do from time to time.
Well this was too much for Toronto fans and media. How dare they cheer against the Leafs? Didn’t they know the Leaf’s goalie is a former Manitobain? Don’t they know you are just suppose to sip on your wine and clap politely if your team scores?
The center of the universe crowd took to twitter and message boards to bemoan that Jets fans were booing their precious Leafs. They called them classless, ignorant and whatever other word they could come up with. Lets just say they were in quite the tizzy over this.
Its not just confined to Winnipeg either. Earlier in the day the King of Class himself Jeremy Roenick attacked Pittsburgh fans for booing Jagr.
Well let me just point out something for those who don’t understand. Fans pay for their tickets! They can boo or cheer whomever they damn well please!
One of the best parts of being fan is giving it to the other team. Yes I know in Toronto its become the norm that fans are to be seen and not heard. You pay for your ticket, go out for dinner, maybe show up if the game is close in the 3rd and leave 5 minutes early so you can beat the traffic. That maybe the way they do things in TO but in the Peg its different. We don’t take our teams for granted. We don’t go to the games just to be seen we go to see the games. We are informed and engaged. We know that a crowd can propel a team to victory.
These media types sit in the press box ABOVE the fans and dare to judge them. These guys didn’t have to pay for their tickets. They get to sit on their butts and complain about fans doing what they are suppose to do. They are being paid to report on the game not be the moral compass for hockey fans. Tell you what why don’t you drop a few grand for season tickets and see if its easy to tell people what they should do.
You want to see bad fans? Go to an Ohio State Football game then you will see fans that are out of control. Yet in Winnipeg the crowd at the MTSC just boos and sometimes chants the other goalies name in a mocking fashion. They don’t throw anything, they don’t start fights. They just pick one player on the other team and give him hell for 60 minutes. Please tell me whats wrong with that?
So I say boo as much as you want. Keep it clean and respectful but boo away and to those who have a problem with it. Grow up and pay for your own damn tickets!
Go Jets Go!