Everything. Announce it already.
Hockey has always been the first love. Went bonkers every Olympics – Go Canada Go! Went nuts every Christmas and New Years for the World Junior Tourney – saw two Gold Medal Games since the Jets left – Go Canada Go! But in the last 15 years hockey interest has waned. The Blue Jays came to the fore. And in the winter, those lovelyWinnipeg winters, it was all about catching a game here and there. Watching a half period before heading to bed. There weren’t many Moose games, and sacrilegiously, not as much HNIC watching.
Yeah, getting married, having a family, and generally working 60-80 hour weeks will do that. But when you no longer have a dog in the race, well, then the race just isn’t as important.
It’s now obvious to me since Tuesday May 31st that has all changed. I have noticed it has changed for my close friends, my not so close friends, and generally just about every overheard conversation in every corner of this city. People have turned their mind back to the national game. Having a dog in the race changes all that.
So it seems that I care about hockey again. Suddenly the Draft has become something I think about and I have found no shortage of people to converse with about -what is this? 1993?
So here goes …
I was going to write a post about how Kevin Cheveldayoff was the wrong hire for the new Winnipeg/Manitoba Polar Bear/Jets. Too inexperienced. Too AHL-ish. Only two years in the show, and just a second banana in that big league gig.
As part of my post there was goin to be a premise that it has to be an experienced, no, not just experienced, but successful, NHL-vet GM to guide us through the hard cap era. I was also going to throw out a few names (with Ken Holland as my pie-in-the-sky, never-gonna-happen first choice). I just sat there. I couldn’t think of anyone. Sather? Nope, he is the old arch-enemy that has turned into a cigar-chomping old man in whom the 21st century NHL game has passed by.
So I started to think of the successful teams this year. The playoff final four – Tampa, Boston, SJ and Van-city. They are ALL run by GM’s that are in their first gig as the MAN at the (Darren) helm.
So maybe Kevin Cheveldayoff is the right choice. Maybe my once hockey-savvy brain has atrophied and I am unable to analyze things as I once did. Maybe I never knew the difference (didn’t I once praise the Winnipeg Hockey Club for moving John Paddock upstairs at Maroons Road?)
Cheveldayoff is the hire, like it or not. Mark Chipman couldn’t make a wrong move could he?
Its not like he’s going to name the team the “Polar Bears” or something … or charge too little for season tickets?
In any event, man, it feels good to talk hockey.
Mission accomplished. Now name the team and draft a franchise centreman, future hall of famer, future Conn Smythe trophy winner and lets win this thing. Are we too late to win this year’s Cup?
When the Jets left in ’96, I said to anyone who would listen – “they’re never coming back”. I was depressed, like a death in the family, etc etc.
Well … May 31st, 2011 happened. Mark Chipman happened. The Thrashers happened.
And now I launch this blog. Hoping to keep it going forever without anymore “Save Our Polar Bears” campaigns in our future.
I just want to put this out there now so it’s on the record. I’ve heard some people, lotsa people, saying they are not going to support my Polar Bears if they are not named the Jets. I sympathize with your stupidity. I want the name to be the Jets. It should be the Jets. But it won’t be the Jets. So get on board the Polar Bear Express right now … unless you are not a hockey fan. And if you do not get on the Polar Bear Express now, and respond when your DJ asks if you want to go faster, then move to Atlanta with all the other non-hockey fans, and pine for the return of the Thrashers.
Go Jets Go.