Where have all the Jets gone?

So, we have the Battle of Ontario (Ottawa Senators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs) and the Battle of Alberta (Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames).
We also have inter-provincial rivalries like Montreal vs. Ottawa and Vancouver vs. Calgary.
We should feel pretty lucky—and learn to never take something that may seem insignificant for granted.
Let’s talk about the Canadian cities that don’t have a hockey team. Or, what about those cities that did have a home team, but had it taken away for financial reasons?
The people in Winnipeg loved the Jets more than I love Tim Hortons coffee—and that’s a lot (really, I have six cups on my desk right now . . . and it’s only Wednesday).
That’s really not a fair comparison, though, because for such a small-market city, they really did show their ongoing support no matter what shape the Jets were in.
Their constant yo-yo affect never seemed to faze the die-hard fans in Manitoba yet still they were never rewarded for their ongoing support.
Rallies were held and funds were raised to try and keep the Jets at home. But no matter what they tried, it was a done deal—the Jets were now Coyotes and they were moving south of the border to Phoenix.
The questions that bear a million answers is why did they fold? Who’s fault was it? And will they ever come back?
The answers: Money, Barry Shenkarow, and I certainly hope so.
The afternoon of May 6, 1995 saw 15,000 fans gathered in the Winnipeg Arena on the verge of tears or, in the more extreme cases, on the verge of walking down to the ice and kicking the stool out from under Jets’ general manager Barry Shenkarow.
But he didn’t need any help. He hung himself by sinking the team into financial ruins and undermining the level of talent the Jets represented.
The Winnipeg Enterprises Corp. (the landlord for the Winnipeg Arena) kept the team from any percentage of parking or concession revenues, and portrayed extreme hostility when the team’s survival was on the line.
Their taxing and arrogant behavior contributed to the loss of the Jets.
Some would argue that although many people supported the Jets, there were plenty of empty seats in the arena. If that was the case, so be it. But I’m sure now everyone realizes it’s a luxury to have an NHL team so close to home.
I’m sure the Jets no longer would be taken for granted.
The Jets’ move killed the hockey spirit in Manitoba for many people. It’s not like Ontario or Alberta, where if one team folded, there’s always another one to cheer for.
Winnipeg doesn’t even have another team within 1,500 km.
The way I see it is now there’s nothing stopping them from having an NHL team in Winnipeg. Not only do they fit the profile better than any other city in consideration for an NHL team, but they deserve it.
If money is the issue, well, with the salary cap now, there is no issue. Let’s get something out of the NHL lockout that benefits the fans—give back to Winnipeg what they gave to hockey for so many years.
Might as well throw this one out there, too—I readily admit I wouldn’t mind only having to drive three-and-a-half hours to see an NHL game.

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