The Jets are dead … Long live the Jets

No, not the New York Jets. Those other Jets I mean. Of the ice hockey variety.

Let me be the next (but the not the last) to wade into the debate about the NHL coming back to Winnipeg.

First, let me say how a big a fan I was. I lived and breathed the Jets as a kid growing up. I never bought into the Maple Leafs, or the Canadiens, or whomever, as many of my friends did – as it was fashionable not to support the Jets as a kid. I was a diehard.

This passion has not subsided. I recently bought a WHA Jets outfit for my newborn child (along with a Nirvana outfit – aren’t I cool!), and do own and proudly wear an array of Jets merchandise.

So, let me get to my point. I don’t want the NHL back in Winnipeg.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my city. I love hockey (and still play to this day). But Winnipeg is not big or rich enough to be an NHL city in the 21st century.

Think about just what the NHL is. It’s a league of billionaire owners and millionaire players. And I don’t want to see my fellow Winnipeggers hard earned dollars go to supporting these spoiled athletic savants and eccentric robber barons to the detriment of the rest of what makes Winnipeg so great.

A good friend smartly suggests that the typical Winnipeg family has about $5000 to spend on entertainment in a year – or about what it would likely costs for a couple decent season tickets. So you see where I am going here. You can either have your Jets tickets OR you can go to the Folkfest, Folklarama, concerts, Bomber games, Goldeye games, restaurants, theatres, or whatever.

That is my basic thesis here – bringing back the Jets put many Winnipeggers in an EITHER / OR position between the Jets and the rest of “cultural” Winnipeg.

And I think the Jets would win. Which is the problem.

The return of the Jets would create a giant sucking sound from our pockets towards these millionaires. And I don’t think there are enough dollars in this blue collar town to make it all work. Something would suffer – and I think it would be much of the “other” side of what makes this town great.

And its not just money either. Think of the time commitment. Seasons tickets means something like 40 plus games plus playoffs (OK, maybe not playoffs – it is the Jets we are talking about here).  Last year, I played 32 gamed of rec hockey. That was tough enough to justify to my family. So, if I were to get seasons tickets, this means an additional 40 plus nights out away from the family OR I would have to quit hockey – or compromise on both to a degree.

See what’s happening here? I’m already having to give up things I love just to work the Jets into my life. I don’t think this example would be too different from what many relatively young families would face.

Bringing the Jets back would damage the ability of Winnipeggers to participate in a wide range of community events – whether as a direct participant or as a spectator / consumer … all to the benefit of a bunch of millionaires who care nothing for this community and cant wait to “get out of Dodge” once the season is over.

For these reasons, I, for one, could do without the return of my beloved Jets.

The Jets are dead … long live the Jets.



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