Winnipeg is a very interesting hockey market. From 1972-1996, the Winnipeg Jets is the only team Winnipegers wore proudly on their sleeves. Don’t get me wrong, the Jets have the best fans in the NHL as shown during any home game. But in many cases, fans now have the Jets on one sleeve, and another team proudly shown on the other.
When the Jets 1.0 left town, hockey fans were broken and crushed. No longer would they be able to watch NHL hockey in a city that lives and breathes the sport. Even worse, us fans had to cope with watching Doan and Tkachuk play in Phoenix where ice keeping the beer cold only lasts three minutes outside.
But during this 15-year drought of NHL hockey, kids growing up in Winnipeg didn’t have a team to cheer for. Unless your dad was a crazy Habs fan or a loyal Leafs fan, you pretty much had a clean slate to cheer for whatever team you wanted. We needed a team to cheer for while we waited for the Jets to come back. I named this “The Limbo Effect.”
When I was young, for some reason, one night I stayed up and watched the Red Wings play the Blues. This game happened to be the game with Yzerman’s iconic slap shot goal. Ever since then, I grew up cheering on the Detroit Red Wings and they have treated me so well during my lifetime. I was three years old when the Jets left, so I didn’t have that connection with the team. They filled a role in my heart that the Jets couldn’t.
I know a lot of people in the same situation as me. I know a lot of people that are Jets fans through the majority of the season, except when they play their real favourite team. I know diehard Ducks fans, Kings fans and more Leafs faithful than you can shake a stick at. I once heard someone say, “I’m married to the Leafs, but the Jets are one hell of a mistress.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
I will always love the Jets, but they will always be my second favourite team. I consider myself a diehard fan for both teams, but when it comes down to it Winnipeg will always come second. Are you in the same boat? Do the Jets come in a very strong second for you? Leave a comment below.