Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Golden Jet feels snubbed

Has yet to be invited to game at MTS Centre by True North

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Making the rounds Friday was a story that Bobby Hull -- the Golden Jet -- had yet to step foot inside the MTS Centre to watch the newest version of the Winnipeg Jets play.

The 73-year-old, in town to promote the book The Golden Jet: A Spectacular Career in Stunning Photographs and help raise funds for the Amadeus Steen Foundation, was blunt when asked why he hasn't been to a Jets game this season.

"They haven't invited me," he said.

"They" is True North, the people who own and operate the NHL franchise. Hull believes the reason for his exclusion from the season-long festivities goes back almost 10 years, when he was a part of a group looking to bring a new version of the World Hockey Association, the league he helped put on the map in the 1970s, to Winnipeg.

Hull said a meeting request with True North back then fell on deaf ears, and feels he might be "persona non grata" inside the MTS Centre thanks to that.

"I guess when something like that happens, you just... the hell with you and the hell with the rest of you," he said at an Amadeus Steen Foundation sports memorabilia auction late Friday afternoon.

True North issued this statement on Hull and his allegations Friday:

"In general this season, we as an organization have been focused on the current Winnipeg Jets and getting the organization up and running. We fully intend to honor the team's history, which Bobby is very much a part of, at a later date," spokesman Scott Brown said via email.

It wasn't all sour grapes Friday. While Hull remains shut out from the current version of the Jets, his former 'Hot Line'-mate Ulf Nilsson has taken in a game in downtown Winnipeg.

Nilsson was in attendance when the Jets beat the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night.

"It was an unbelievable experience for me," he said. "It was my first game in the new arena... the atmosphere is so positive and such a great feeling."

Maybe Hull will get a chance to experience that one day.

adam.wazny@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 25, 2012 C4

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