Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hockey fans' jets burning hot

Selinger coy but hopes high that city will get the Thrashers

  • Print

On the matter of NHL hockey returning to Winnipeg, True North's lips were sealed on Friday.

Pundits' lips flapped.

But the premier's? His were pulled into a sly smirk.

"I think Tuesday could be an interesting day," Premier Greg Selinger told a crowd of reporters outside the legislature after a press conference thanking the military for its help in the flood fight.

Tuesday, of course, is the day True North Sports and Entertainment and the NHL will announce the Atlanta Thrashers will move into new digs at the MTS Centre, according to a Globe and Mail report.

And it's a day that could see Selinger standing next to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to deliver the big news.

But the premier shied away from giving more details than the little tease. He said the province, which will help ease the debt on the arena to help free cash for True North to buy the Thrashers, and the Mark Chipman-led buyer group were "taking a very sensible approach."

"Let's not jump the gun," Selinger said, noting he was "totally excited" about a possible return of the NHL to the city. "Let's make sure we've got the ink dry."

Too late. On Friday night, 24 hours after an impromptu street party took over Portage and Main, Jets fans crowded city sports bars to cheer as the Vancouver Canucks faced the San Jose Sharks -- and swoon over just how interesting Tuesday might be.

"I'm so WOOOOOOO that the Jets might be coming back," raved Viola Bauer, decked out in a blue Teemu Selanne Jets jersey and quaffing pint-size libations at the 4Play sports bar on Portage Avenue.

Though Bauer couldn't make it to Thursday night's shenanigans at Portage and Main, she already has a plan for Tuesday, if it indeed goes fans' way: A local henna artist has agreed to give her a body-paint job to look like a Jets jersey, which she plans to take to the inevitable downtown hootenanny.

As for the question of the day -- will Winnipeggers open their wallets enough to keep the team in town this time? -- Bauer's friend, Nikki Fuhro, made a sage observation.

"If Winnipeg paid for the Bombers to stick around after the crap they've been through, then they're definitely paying for this team," she said.

Winnipeg sports fans weren't alone in the buzz. Even the mayor of Quebec City was excited Friday.

Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume said the return of an NHL franchise to Winnipeg is good news and opens the door to the transfer of a professional hockey team to his city.

"Today, we should be thrilled," Labeaume told reporters. "The best thing that could happen to us is to see Winnipeg get its team. Usually, we could be next on the list."

Quebec City was home to the NHL's Nordiques until they moved to Colorado in 1995.

Meanwhile, as news from the hyper-driven rumour mill sank in, many city fans turned their attention to a simple and familiar hope for Tuesday's announcement.

"If they call it the Winnipeg Spirit, I'm not buying tickets," Sean Kirady joked at 4Play, while he contemplated a pro-hockey future right across the street.

"It's gotta be the Jets."


-- With files from Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 21, 2011 A3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jets this week - Game 2 with Tim and Gary

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two Canadian geese perch themselves for a perfect view looking at the surroundings from the top of a railway bridge near Lombard Ave and Waterfront Drive in downtown Winnipeg- Standup photo- May 01, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(Standup photo)- Humming Around- A female ruby -throated hummingbird fly's through the bee bomb  flowers Friday at the Assiniboine Park English Garden- Nectar from flowers are their main source of food. Hummingbirds wings can beat as fast as 75x times second. Better get a glimpse of them soon the birds fly far south for the winter - from Mexico to South America- JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Sept 10, 2009

View More Gallery Photos


Do you agree with the sale of the Canadian Wheat Board to foreign companies?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google