Since everyone else is talking about it, I thought I should too.
Hey, did you hear we might be getting an NHL team? I assume, that unless you are living under a rock, you have. I’ve gotta say, I’m actually kind of excited. I’m not the biggest hockey fan in the world, but when I was a kid I always loved going to Jets games and I imagine it’s the same for a lot of people. There is a certain attraction hockey has for the average Canadian that manages to incite national pride like no other sport. Look at what happened during the Olympics; they had to shut down Portage Avenue when Team Canada won. If NHL teams were handed out based on sheer enthusiasm alone, we’d have had a team ages ago.
Of course we’ve heard it all before haven’t we? When Hugh McFadyen made it part of his provincial election campaign a few years ago, just the notion of something so absurd sunk him. When Sam Katz said on the radio last week that 100 per cent Winnipeg will have an NHL team within three years, my jaw hit the proverbial steering wheel. Not again, I thought. Except, unless my ears doth deceive me, it seems the conversation is a little different than it’s been in the past. It seems more possible somehow. That could simply be a result of the collective will of an entire city, but nonetheless, the fruit is dangling there, waiting to be snatched up.
I must admit that my excitement for an NHL team is definitely selfish. While bringing back the Jets would definitely put Winnipeg on the map, I can’t help but feel giddy at what it would do for downtown. I get goosebumps just thinking of it. Imagine the Jets in the Stanley Cup final and thousands of people milling along Portage Avenue cheering on their team. Imagine how hot a commodity living in the new Avenue Building will be, sitting right across the street from the Winnipeg Jets. People who never, ever come downtown would come to see them play–and they might even not complain about parking.
They’d have to be called the Jets, otherwise I predict rioting in the streets. And after all, this is still Winnipeg, and we don’t want to have to buy new jerseys with a new team name on them. (I’m kidding people who stand to make (or lose) money on this, people will buy new jerseys. I promise.)
The possibilities seem endless. It could mean so much for our city, for our spirit and of course, our downtown. With the Human Rights Museum completed and an NHL team in tow, there really will be a reason for people to visit Winnipeg. And not just people who use to live here, but that elusive foreign visitor. Maybe even one from across the ocean. (A girl can dream, can’t she?)
I know I won’t be the only one waiting to see the outcome of the Glendale city council meeting tonight. Perhaps the future is starting to look blue, red and white…