Tuesday, May 31, 2011
The Winnipeg fever is catching on and for good reason. The deal was agreed upon to bring the Atlanta Thrashers up North to the capital city of Manitoba, bringing the great game of hockey back to the city of Winnipeg.
The joy that must be running through the citizens of Winnipeg must be fantastic, while the hockey fans that are in Atlanta, as many as there may be, are likely shattered with disappointment that they have once again lost an NHL franchise.
To me, I'm very much in the middle, between joy and disappointment, more so to the feeling of indifference. There is no real argument in either direction that would likely change my feeling on this matter, especially since I don't really buy into the "Make It Seven" movement for the sake of having seven Canadian teams, nor am I really going to spend my time worrying about what kind of market these teams are residing in or moving to, because team or league revenue is none of my everyday concern. It's not my bleedin' money, why should I care who is losing or making money?
I would be truly disappointed if the Thrashers, in this case, just folded and shut up their shop and didn't take any opportunity to relocate, going down to 29 teams would be a real disappointment. I would probably be more elated if the NHL decided to expand to 31 or 32 teams, increasing the amount of talent we would get to see in the NHL in any given season. Relocation just doesn't work the same way for me.
This isn't to say that this situation isn't interesting, because it really is. There are all kinds of stories now surrounding this impending move that makes for a raised eyebrow or two. Will players want to move to Winnipeg? What kind of budget does the new ownership group have for the franchise? What will the eventual divisonal re-alignment look like? I think the hockey related questions are way more interesting than the cosmetic questions, like "what name will they finally decide to use?"
I'm sure Winnipeg and the MTS Centre will be a rockin' place for NHL hockey and they will have a good growing team to support. I do hope for the best in Winnipeg, much like I did for Atlanta and continue to for Phoenix, because there are people who love this game in these cities and I can't imagine what it would be like if I couldn't cheer for my favourite team any more. It's a heartbreaking thought and I do feel for those Thrashers fans that have now lost their team to the big business.
It may not be my biggest concern, but I suppose I have a little bit of nostalgia for the Jets name... I wouldn't mind seeing my favourite Canucks beat the Jets in the first round of the playoffs again. That would have a heart-warming feel to it.