Fan support the difference

Dear editor:
In Craig Brockie’s letter to the editor entitled “Mill Closure: Threat or Opportunity,” which appeared in the Wednesday, Dec. 21 edition of the Fort Frances Times, he refers to Winnipeg losing its NHL team whereas the Edmonton Oilers survived.
His question was “What was the difference?”
Well, I possibly have an answer to this as I took part in Winnipeg’s inauguration into the NHL.
As a ghost writer, I was sponsored an invitation to the inaugural game against the Montreal Canadiens. To make this a special event, it was called “Tuxedo Night,” in which a majority of the fans were dressed to kill.
Hardly something you would see at a sporting event, but a classic in its own right.
However, unless you were blindfolded or dreaming, you would have suspected this game was being played at the Montreal Forum—and not in Winnipeg—judging by the applause when the Habs scored compared to that scored by the hometown Jets.
As a player myself on minor teams, we always had hometown support. But to start their very first game in the NHL, the Winnipeg Jets were not accepted as the hometown favourites but rather their opponents.
How could you expect the best from a team that was treated more like the opposition, so to speak. From that very first game played, I was more a Winnipeg Jet fan instead of the very many who favoured the rivals.
With this assumption, Winnipeg does not deserve to have a team in the NHL. If they do again, then they have to receive 100 percent of fans’ support, not 35 percent.
Mike Baranowski
Nestor Falls, Ont.