Burton Cummings, the embodiment of Jets fans everywhere right now.
First off, congratulations to Jets fans everywhere, and the city of Winnipeg. Second, my condolences to Atlanta and all Thrashers fans.
I’ll have more to say on this in the future but here are my initial thoughts on this whole thing…
– Bettman, no matter what he does, will never have any fans in the hockey world. People complained that he would never allow another Canadian team under his watch, now they’re complaining that he wasn’t happy enough at the press conference announcing another Canadian team under his watch. Well I’ll give you an idea as to why he may not be all that happy, he just watched a team move from the 9th largest metropolitan area in the United States, to Winnipeg. Which brings me to my next thought…
– Winnipeg is now the smallest market in the NHL. Because Winnipeg’s rink is so small, even if the Jets sell out every game next season, it will finish no better than 24th in attendance across the NHL, based on figures for the 2010-11 season, trailing the likes of Nashville, Florida and Dallas, all money-losers last year. (link)
– The issue of moving teams to Canada seems to be more about U.S. vs. Canada, or everyone vs. Bettman, than it does about the actual long term viability of a market or the overall health of a league.
– A lot of players do not want to play in Winnipeg, rightly or wrongly. The response to the team moving to Winnipeg has been unprecedented; we’ve seen analysts, agents, players and more players all speak up about how much players do not want to play in Winnipeg. That being said, you know there are lots of guys out there dying to play their hearts out for a rabid Canadian crowd that will hold them up as gods if they can only win a few playoff series. It’s also going to depend on what kind of culture this team builds, if they win, players will come. So we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out, but in the meantime, prepare yourself for story after story of players not wanting to move to Winnipeg.
– Everybody wants this team to be called the Jets. Everyone. Now just do it. Why start this whole process by pissing everyone off, and possibly making a very poor decision about names, jerseys and logos? You would think the owners would have enough on their plates without having to worry about whether or not they’re creating the next Wild Wing?!?
The "Wild Wing" jersey. There are no words.
You have a logo, colours and a team name that are popular enough (after 15 years of that team not existing) that they still sell merchandise based on it, and you’re going to try to outdo that. On top of all that, you’re going to have to deal with the accusations that you’re just trying gouge your fans by asking them all to buy new jerseys, hats, pennants, bedsheets and underwear. Good luck.