WASHINGTON, D.C. — The collection is finally complete at Canada’s Embassy in the United States.
The Winnipeg Jets and their co-owner and governor Mark Chipman presented the embassy and the Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer a Jets jersey autographed by the entire team, completing the embassy’s on-display collection of all seven Canadian NHL clubs.
While they were there Wednesday evening, the Jets spent the better part of two hours schmoozing with Doer, the former Manitoba premier, and other embassy officials over poutine, sliders and beverages.
"It was fun -- nice to meet some people like that," said Jets goalie Chris Mason. "We got to talk to an airforce colonel and he had some interesting stories about his deployments and now he’s in Washington interacting with all the government agencies.
"It was pretty cool, and the sliders were phenomenal."
Mason said he’s always impressed with enthusiastic Jets fans, including the exuberant Doer.
"I love that," he said. "To me, it makes me proud to be Canadian. No matter what you do or what stature you have in government, the majority of people love hockey and that’s why I started playing hockey, because it’s part of our culture.
"I feel proud that no matter who anybody is, they just seem like regular people."
Said Jets winger Tanner Glass: "I didn’t even know he (Doer) was a Manitoban. It was cool to see him. I don’t know if I could do his job, all the chit chat and small talk, political speak.
"And what a great view, great view of the Capitol from there. What a great space. We were lucky to go."
One of the Jets who didn’t attend was captain Andrew Ladd, who’s been fighting a flu bug and instead went straight to the hotel to sleep.
Ladd said his absence was simply health-related and was not a "statement," then he poked a little fun at Boston goalie Tim Thomas, who engaged in a personal protest by skipping a visit by the Cup-champion Bruins to the White House here two weeks ago
"No Facebook comments this week, either," Ladd laughed.