Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Jets take to The Forks, warm up the place

  • Print

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

Jets captain Andrew Ladd (left gets roughed up by Carson Schepp of the Portage Atom A's as hundreds of fans came out to watch the Winnipeg Jets at an outdoor practice at The Forks on Sunday.

Andrew Ladd’s face had that pinkish hue that comes with being outside in Winnipeg on a blustery winter day.

"I can still feel my face… my hands, not so much," said the Winnipeg Jets captain with a grin during a break from the club’s first ever outdoor practice at The Forks Sunday afternoon.

"It’s a great venue. The train tracks in the background and with everybody out here... it’s cool. It would have been nicer if it was a little warmer. but I think the guys are having fun just playing a little game of shinny."

Asked if he had ever played on a venue like this while growing up, Ladd added:

"No. I grew up in Vancouver so we were lucky if the ice froze."

Approximately 2,500 fans surrounded the makeshift rink on the Red River Mutual Trail Sunday to watch the Jets play shinny for about an hour before they were joined by the Portage A-1 Atom team that won a contest and the privilege to be on the ice with their NHL heroes.

"The kids had an absolute blast. They were pumped," said Dean Calder, the club’s head coach. "We played Friday night and I told them we had practice on Sunday and they were like, ‘Oh...’. Then I told them it was an outdoor practice and the team we normally practise with won’t be able to make it so I got a different team to practice with.’ They were like, ‘Who?’ and then I said, ‘The Jets.’ Actually, Jack, one of our players, said ‘The real Jets?’

"They were pretty excited to get the chance to come out here and play. It’s a great chance for the kids to come out and see the players they admire on TV."

Added Evan Calder, who called the experience ‘awesome’, when asked what his favourite part of the on-ice practice with the Jets was: ""Hitting (Dustin) Byfuglien. And I tripped someone, but I don’t know who it was."

The Jets have been on the ice since last Wednesday with some grueling, training-camp like sessions, but will have Monday off before a final push for a playoff spot begins Thursday with a home date against the Phoenix Coyotes. And so Sunday’s event was one final mental break before the real grind begins.

"It’s a break in the Olympic practices," said Jets coach Paul Maurice. "They’ve had enough of that, I think we all have and we’d like to play some games now. This is fun.

"I think everybody (played on an outdoor rink). That’s all I really remember. I had one in my backyard, every elementary school had one, high schools had one… 85 per cent of the time we were on the ice it was at outdoor rinks. That’s where we learned to have fun with the game. These guys, it gets cold but they get their hockey equipment on and get out here almost reluctantly and five minutes later they can’t control themselves and they’re calling each other names and they’re doing it like it used to be."

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

History

Updated on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 10:41 PM CST: slideshow added

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

    No

  • 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 winnipegfreepress.com. 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 winnipegfreepress.com. 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.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart - Take It Easy

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100527-Winnipeg Free Press THe Provencher Foot Bridge is lit up
  • Two baby tigers were unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning, October 3rd, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How surpised are you by the Bombers’ 4-1 start to the season?

View Results

Ads by Google