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Winnipeg Jets

Jets fans can pin hopes on players

Eleven team members form memorabilia collection

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Evander Kane are among the featured players in the Winnipeg Jets collector pin set.

BORIS MINKEVICH

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Evander Kane are among the featured players in the Winnipeg Jets collector pin set.

Andrew LADD flips through the pins bearing the likenesses of 11 of his teammates and tosses Dustin Byfuglien's on the floor of the Jets' dressing room.

"I definitely don't want Buff. I see enough of Buff on a daily basis," the captain said with a smirk.

After surveying the set, which has been produced in conjunction with the NHL, the NHL Players Association and the Jets, he opts for Mark Stuart's pin.

"Stewey doesn't get enough love," he said.

When given the same choices, centre Bryan Little opted for Ladd's pin.

"He's my linemate, the captain and face of the team. I've got to stay with my linemate," he said.

Goalie Ondrej Pavelec looked at the faces of his teammates and said, "I'd like to have mine. I like it, this is the first time I've seen (these pins). I think it's pretty cool," he said.

"Can I have Olli (Jokinen), too?"

Other players included in the set are Evander Kane, Toby Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, Blake Wheeler and Devin Setoguchi.

There are 24 pins in total, with each of the 11 players selected having a front shot and one of their jersey number. (There's also a pin of Mark Scheifele who is listed as a "future star" and a commemorative silver pin of the Jets logo.)

A new pin will be available every day starting on Oct. 5 at 7-Eleven stores, Canada Safeway, Real Canadian Superstore, Canadian Tire and Red River Co-op gas stations.

Each one will cost $2.99 but you can't buy it without a coupon, which is available in that day's Free Press.

"It's an opportunity for us to be able to share with our readers a collectors' set that would not be available in any other fashion," said Laurie Finley, vice-president of sales and marketing at the Free Press.

Travis Daley, co-owner of Joe Daley's Sports & Framing, said the pin collection is the type of memorabilia that would be worthy of hanging on the wall of a man cave.

"It's not going to (have the value) of a Wayne Gretzky rookie card," he said.

All three Jets collected cards and pins when they were kids and they know the etiquette if you want something signed by one of your NHL opponents - you get your trainers to politely ask their trainers.

Ladd has signed jerseys from Gretzky and Cam Neely and Pavelec has one from his childhood hero, Martin Brodeur. Little, however, admits to being a little too intimidated to ask.

"I think I've been too scared to do that. When I first got into the league, I remember playing against Joe Sakic. I wanted a stick of his but I was too scared and too nervous. I wanted to say something to him on the face-off I was taking against him but I was too nervous," he said.

"He's someone I grew up watching and he's one of my heroes. It's kind of a strange feeling. You have all of these ideas of what you're going to say and when you're actually face to face with him, you turn into an idiot."

In the end, we gave Little the pin bearing his likeness, too.

"Thanks. I'll give it to my mom," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 28, 2013 C7

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