What would be a year in review without a look at the Top 10 moments of 2011? And of course, we’re going to relate this entirely to the Winnipeg Jets.
One event that we wouldn’t consider a top 10, but wanted to mention, was the ill-timed passing of Jets player Rick Rypien. It was nice how the organization paid tribute to him at the season opener without ever playing a game for the franchise. May he rest in peace.
And as for the Top 10 Winnipeg Jets moments of 2011, use your best Sports Center voice over to read through these in your head.
10. December home stand – out of 14 games in December, the Jets host 12 of them in their own building. “The Hangar”, as the MTS Centre is quickly becoming known, has definitely boasted well for the teams’ 7-2-1 December home record, with another two games remaining.
9. Jets logo leaked & released – with countless logo ideas for what the new Winnipeg Jets logo could, or even should look like, an employee tweeted a photo of the merchandise prompting what appears to have been a quickly thrown together press conference releasing the Jets identity pieces.
8. Mason’s goal pads – Christmas came early for Jets backup net minder Chris Mason. A custom pair of goal pads, blocker and catcher from Brian’s arrived just in time for Christmas and a chance to try them out in practice. Some could argue Mason has the most outstanding set of equipment in the league when combining the gear with his Iron Maiden inspired mask.
7. UFA signings – while there were many players not under contract when the franchise was purchased, none seemed to be a more pivotal move than the signing of unrestricted free agent Kyle Wellwood. Currently the 4th leading scorer on the team, Wellwood has accumulated 22 points in 36 games and is on pace for a 50 point season – a career high.
6. Jersey revealed – plenty of speculation on colors, style and logos were conceived while waiting for the organization to release the official home and away jerseys. Tweets and photos of various uniform pieces had slowly circulated spawning plenty of debate and best guess ideas. Countless counterfeit jerseys were produced and subsequently seized by RCMP. The unveiling of the jerseys was held at the air force base in Winnipeg, with much pomp and circumstance.
5. First (home) win – on a rather nice day in Winnipeg, on October 17, 2011 the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 2-1 in regulation. This marked the franchises first win in regular season play and their first win at the MTS Centre.
4. Anticipated naming & first-round pick – as expected by many, True North Sports & Entertainment released the new name of the NHL franchise at the 2011 NHL Draft as they named Mark Scheifele, a surprise pick, the first pick overall of the Winnipeg Jets. Fans watching live from the MTS Centre went crazy chanting “Go Jets Go” that they almost missed the name of Scheifele.
3. Return of the “Flash” – Saturday, December 17, 2011 is a day that many Jets fans will remember for years to come. It was the day circled on Teemu Selanne’s calendar since he decided to return to the league. The “Finnish Flash” returned to the city that drafted him and allowed him to flourish into the superstar he is today. Tears of happiness were seen in his eyes as the Jets notched a 5-3 victory over the Ducks.
2. A night of firsts – we’re not talking about prom night here, but based on the tuxedos in attendance we understand how you could easily be confused. Sunday, October 9, the new Winnipeg Jets took to an ear deafening ice surface in their first home game in over 15 years against the Montreal Canadiens. While the Jets were unsuccessful in their 5-1 loss, they were victorious in winning back the hearts of Winnipeg and hockey fans coast-to-coast. When Nik Antropov scored at 2:27 in the third period, history was made. So much so that Canada Post designed a limited edition stamp to commemorate the event.
1. We’re on the move – no team has ever evoked so much emotion and attention as the Winnipeg Jets have this season, and on May 31, 2011 everyone knew the Jets were back with the official announcement that True North Sports & Entertainment had purchased the Atlanta Thrashers franchise from failing Atlanta Spirit Group. As the weeks would go on, numerous name speculations for the unnamed franchise would circulate. Fan passion would increase to an all-time high. And of course, the many fans who had moved on, but never forgotten, got their best gift ever.
All we can say is “GO JETS GO!” and hope that 2012 brings as much interest and success as 2011 has. Let us know what other moments were significant this year for you by leaving a comment below or simply reply to the tweet.
— Winnipeg WhiteOut (@WPG_WhiteOut) December 28, 2011