July 2, 2020

19° C, Clear

Full Forecast

Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe

Already a subscriber?


Advertise With Us


Jets lose, Winnipeg wins

Forget scoreboard, it was a great day Bedlam at the barn as province celebrates NHL's return

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/10/2011 (3188 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Fans erupt at a raucous MTS Centre as the home team celebrates the new-era Winnipeg Jets' first goal, a third-period marker scored by NIk Antropov.


Fans erupt at a raucous MTS Centre as the home team celebrates the new-era Winnipeg Jets' first goal, a third-period marker scored by NIk Antropov.

Were those tears streaming down your face?

Did you squeeze your daughter's hand a little tighter?

Did you turn and kiss your husband?

Was it the first time you saw your father cry?

Did you stand up and stomp your feet and yell yourself hoarse? Did you look down at your shoes and stop for a moment and let it wash over you?

Was it everything you hoped for -- except the final score?

On a day when the game didn't live up to our expectations and the Jets lost 5-1 at the MTS Centre to the visiting Montreal Canadiens, the celebration went on undaunted.

Winnipeg stepped back onto the ice like a veteran making a comeback after years away from the game. The first steps were hesitant, the shot didn't have the old zip, it was tough to find the open man and by end of a shift, it was tough to breathe.

But wasn't it glorious just the same? Didn't it leave your cheeks flushed and your heart pumping and your lips smiling? Damn, it was beautiful.

It was a loss in the record books and the Jets are now 0-1 and winless going on 15 years. But wasn't it much more than a hockey game?

Win or lose, this was going to be a day we all held dear, while the loss takes a bit of the shine off the immediate moment, the sting of defeat will fade as the memory burnishes.

"What a day. This means everything to me," said fan Sandy Thomson. "My bro started bringing me to games when I was a kid in the '70s. I can't believe this day has come. It was so emotional when they hit the ice. I'm not saying for sure, but I may have shed a tear."

Freeze the moment in time, Winnipeggers, and remember and cherish it. The NHL and the Winnipeg Jets returned on Sunday and put an end to your wait. It's finally over. The Jets are back and the entire country turned in our direction for a few hours to watch this watershed moment.

"There was so much adrenaline. When they came on to the ice, the buildup was so amazing. I couldn't hear myself talk," said Ainsley Ferguson. "It was so incredible. I'm so glad I was here."

You came in white and you came in blue and you came and stood and you wouldn't leave. The Jets were unable to give you a win but that couldn't spoil the day. It was your day and you owned it and carried it. Congratulations to you.

"It's an emotional day for all the old players. I'm glad it happened, absolutely," said Jets legend Dale Hawerchuk, in town for the afternoon.

There's no question the players missed the moment, or perhaps got caught up in it. So many seemed sluggish, almost overwhelmed.

"It's a tough moment with lots of emotion. I brought my kids up to see what Winnipeg is like and what hockey means here," said former Jets forward Keith Tkachuk. "This is a great building and boy is it loud. The old building was my first and it was special, but this is a beautiful place and this is a beautiful day."

Somewhere late Sunday night in the offices of True North, a collection of staffers likely put their feet up on the desks, cracked cold beers and sighed in relief. Back on May 31 when Mark Chipman announced True North's purchase of an NHL franchise, a frantic race began and it finally ended Sunday.

True North put on a display with a moving tribute to Rick Rypien and a whirlwind video of its days as the organization behind the Manitoba Moose to its present status as an NHL outfit.

"It's hard to characterize," said Chipman, following the second period, when asked about his emotions as the game and the new era of the Jets began. "I can't over-emphasize the importance of what (Rypien) Ryp meant to us, and to have his mom here for this was very special to me. Obviously the whole opening was very emotional. But after that it gets down to the business of trying to win a hockey game."

That comes next as the hoopla will fade and the exuberance of being back in the league will diminish. Now it's up to the Jets and Winnipeg to live up to the responsibilities of membership.

Winning and losing and cheering and jeering. Isn't it great?

It's back and it's ours and to be honest, even losing felt good on this day.


Twitter: @garylawless


Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press would like to thank our readers for their patience while comments were not available on our site. We're continuing to work with our commenting software provider on issues with the platform. In the meantime, if you're not able to see comments after logging in to our site, please try refreshing the page.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.


Advertise With Us