He's not from Winnipeg, but became a man here. And so, yes, Dale Hawerchuk knows all about playing in a hockey-mad Canadian market.
The former Jet and hockey hall of famer would also add this -- especially as this town again gets labelled as a small-market outpost in the wake of the latest Evander Kane trade rumours -- with time it's a place that can really grow on a player.
'I loved it here, I loved coming here as an 18-year-old. I felt like I pretty much grew up here. It's always been special.'
"There were a few guys that would come in and never gave it a chance," said Hawerchuk, the Barrie Colts head coach who is in Winnipeg helping with the Jets' Development Camp. "And it's like, 'too bad for you.' But there was a time when a lot of guys stayed here year round. That landscape's changed a bit, but it doesn't mean it won't change as the team gets its roots going here again. Obviously, as an organization, you do your best to get your players to love it. My short time being around here, they do everything first class so I don't know why players wouldn't love it.
"I loved it here, I loved coming here as an 18-year-old. I felt like I pretty much grew up here. It's always been special. Even after we moved on to Buffalo we still had a place in Gimli for many years and my wife's from here, so there's some family here.
"There was nothing better than knowing that as an NHL player no matter where you walked in the city people were going to know who you were. So, you had better be proud of your accomplishments. That should push people."
HOMEWORK CAN'T WAIT: Jets' third-round draft pick Jack Glover was a late arrival to D-Camp, but with good reason. He's taking a couple of courses at the University of Minnesota and had to get the work done before hopping on a plane north.
"I had to finish up Monday and turn in two mini-papers that were due Wednesday," said Glover, who is taking a sports-management and a freshman writing class this summer. "I'm doing a research paper right now on genetically modified organisms so there were a couple annotated bibliographies for it, four pages or so.
"It's little over my head, but I wrote it down, got it on paper and hopefully it worked out all right."
Glover, a 6-3, 185-pound defenceman from Golden Valley, Minn., has already had his eyes opened as to the work he has to put in to become an NHLer. And that's what this camp is all about.
"I didn't really know what to expect coming into the camp," said Glover. "Obviously being drafted is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But then the work starts now and coming out here is the first step in realizing what I need to do to play at the next level and what the biggest things are that I'm going to need to work on in the next few years at (University of) Minnesota in order to come in here and make an impact one day. For me, it's my strength. I'm a tall kid, I need to add some weight, but the right weight at the same time. I need to get stronger, especially in my lower body, and really work on winning those one-on-one battles."
THE SKED: The Jets' D-Camp continues today with two sessions, at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.
MINOR DEAL: The Jets announced Wednesday night they had made a minor trade, sending forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas to the Buffalo Sabres for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2015. Originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the seventh round (203rd overall) in 2009, the Sabres have until Aug. 15 to sign Samuels-Thomas before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.