There are some things in life that everyone remembers. Your first kiss, your first day of college, hopefully your anniversary. In Winnipeg, there is a common memory that when asked, puts a smile on one’s face. This memory is a person’s first Jets game.
I was talking with a friend from Montreal, who is a big Canadiens fan. Montreal is known for their passionate fan base and their loud arena. He said that the MTS Centre was just as good, or even better, than the Bell Centre in terms of noise and passion. He said his experience far exceeded his expectations. He knew Jets fans were crazy for their team, but his experience at the MTS Centre was like nothing he had ever experienced before.
Tonight is my girlfriend’s first Jets game. She won’t be cheering them on though, as she is a Canucks faithful. She has been texting me all day about how excited she is to see her first Jets/NHL game. Every person who has been to a Jets game understands the emotions she is going through right now.
I had been to a couple NHL games beforehand in Vancouver. The Jets weren’t even a thought in my mind. It was an amazing experience, but I felt no connection to Canucks. It was like watching a game on TSN where you don’t care about the outcome of the game. My first Jets game will stick with me forever.
December 13, 2011. The Jets were taking on the Minnesota Wild in their first ever matchup. I found the tickets on Kijiji three hours before puck drop. It was the first ever Jets game for a friend and myself. They won 2-1. It wasn’t the most exciting game to watch, but I will remember the whole experience for the rest of my life.
I went to the festivities that happened on May 31 at The Forks. I watched Mark Chipman release the official name of the Jets on draft day, and I wore my Jets jersey at home as the Jets took on the Canadiens on October 9. Everything that happened previously led up to the day when I finally got to watch my first ever Jets game at the MTS Centre.
The honeymoon effect was still in full swing. “Go Jets Go!” chants echoed down Portage Avenue. A swarm of Jets blue filled the entrance of the MTS Centre. As I walked in and looked down at the ice, I stared in awe as it finally hit me. This was a real thing, what I saw on T.V. was real.
As the light dimmed, the smile slowly formed on my face. I don’t think that stupid grin came off for the rest of the game.
First The Star Spangled Banner started playing. But once Oh Canada came on, you really felt the passion the fans had for their team.
I was in tears as “TRUE NORTH!” was exclaimed throughout the audience. Never in my dreams had I thought I would have an NHL team that I could call my own.
It is an experience that I will tell my kids, and one I hope I am a part of with them.
So again, do you remember your first time?
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