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'Try not to fall over'

Tips from Jets' biggest little fans

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As a lifelong Vancouver Canucks fan, I have no right to offer an opinion, but it seems clear the Jets could use a little help if they want to squeak into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

That's why Thursday morning, as a public service, I agreed to sit down and pick the brains of some of the brightest young hockey minds in the country.

As you have no doubt already guessed, I am referring here to the hockey-loving kids in Allison Gudmundson's grades 1 and 2 class, Margaret Gosek's grades 3 and 4 class and Anuschka Lenoski's grades 3 and 4 class at Neil Campbell School in East Kildonan.

I agreed to spend the morning with these pint-sized shinny experts for I Love To Read Month in exchange for them putting on their general manager's hats and writing letters to their beloved Jets telling them how to step up their game.

So tighten your chinstraps, hockey heroes, because here are some unedited tips from the home team's littlest fans...

Dear Jets: "You have to used more team work to get a score. Be more positive. Try to distract the goalie. Try to sneak around the goalie and then score. Try to nock their teeth out! Try not to fall over." -- Love Ali and Tatum, Grade 2

Dear Jets: "Get your heads in the game. I am nine years old." -- Peter, Grade 4

Dear Jets: "You guys have to work like a team to make it to the Stanly Cup and try to score more goals to make it to the Stanly Cup and also try to get a shutout and also try to not let the other team take the puck away and try to not let the other team score." -- Elijah, Grade 2

Dear Jets: "I have a gold fish." -- Victoria

Dear Jets: "You should kick off Bufglen (Byfuglien). He is the werst defence man ever. You should replas him with Mike Green. Jets you should get (Alexander) Ovechkin on your team. And you should get Tames (Tomas) Vokon (Vokoun) for goal and then you mite make it to the playoffs." -- your 2nd fan, Nathaniel, Grade 3

Dear Jets: "I am gonna tell you how to make it to the playoffs. First, you should draft me. Second, you should stop getting offsides and penalties. Third, you gotta back check a little faster. Forth, you got to stop missing the net. Fifth, you got to make Chris Mason wear his new pads. I know I sound like the coach, but I'm just trying to help." -- Aaron, 9, Grade 4

Dear Jets: 'I think you guys need to practice more, but I know you guys are good just that you need to pass and shoot more and I'm only 10 years old and I've seen all of your games. I am a very big fan and I just wanted to give advice. Go Jets Go!" -- Orlando

Dear Jets: "I would like you to win the Stanley Cup. Ladd can not go in the penelty box." -- Braden, 8, Grade 3

Dear Jets: "I hope you can win, but I do not like hockey. Sorry." -- Natasha, Grade 3

Dear Jets: "We know that you guys are trying your best. But we need you guys to skate harder and if you have a brake away just do my technique -- I just go to the right, then the left. I usholy score." -- Matthew, 8, Grade 3

Dear Jets: "I know what you should do to go to the Stanley Cup. You should use the pashin from the crowd and use it as fuel and score!!" -- Keegan, 9, Grade 4

Dear Jets: "I think that once you get a goal don't let the other team get a goal. You should if you need to go far away for a game sent your goaly to sleep good and then have a good game. Maybe you should be nice and not give away peneltys." -- Jade, 9, Grade 4

Dear Jets: "Your very good players, but I think your team needs work. You work together, wich is sort of what you need to do. And if this makes you feel better, me, my dad and mom and brother are very big fans. Actually I think everyone loves you... Maybe you don't have anything to work on. Maybe just cheering up because I can't think of anything you need to work on." -- Bryn, 8, Grade 3

Dear Jets: "I'M YOUR BIGGEST FAN!! Bealeave in your self that's how I got really really good at hockey. Everybody wants to be your guys partnur, even me and my dad and my dog Sprite. Every body in my house WE'LL ALWAYS BELEAVE YOU. We all love you guys. Please love us back! Please say, 'WE BELEAVE ARE SELF! WE BELEAVE ARE SELF! 10 times.' " -- your biggest fan, Peyten, 9, Grade 3

In a wonderful coincidence, former Jets superstar Thomas Steen was also visiting the school Thursday and, when I pressured him for tips on what the new Jets need to do, he laughed and said: "Score every shift and don't let any in!"

So there you have it, Winnipeg Jets. The kids at Neil Campbell School are sending a whole lot of love your way and, if you need more advice, they are ready to lend a hand.

Just as soon as recess is over.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 17, 2012 A2

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