Rss

Recently the JetsNation team put together a list of the most memorable moments of the last ten years of Winnipeg Jets / Atlanta Thrashers hockey. We came up with about 15 in total ranging from no-brainers like the day Mark Chipman announced the return of the NHL to the city of Winnipeg, to understated moments such as the fight filled affair in Nashville where an angry and frustrated Jets squad filled up the penalty box against a Predators club that was just starting to become a major team rival.

With our list in hand, we turned to all of you to help us narrow the list to ten iconic moments and memories that will last with us well beyond December 31, 2019. This is the second part of our five part series where we go over the top ten (in no particular order) and highlight what made each moment stand out and our memories of them.

You can check out part one here: “A Flying W And Laine’s Five”

We also encourage to share your favorite moments and memories on the comments below or on our our Twitter or Facebook pages. We may highlight them in a post in the new year/decade!


“Jets Experience Regina”

October 26, 2019: The Jets and Flames meet in Regina with the Jets prevailing in overtime with a 2-1 victory.

The idea of the NHL giving the city of Regina an outdoor game probably started coming up right about the time shovels hit the ground to start building the new Mosaic Stadium back in 2014 and early in 2018 once the stadium had been finished and had already seen a season of Saskatchewan Roughriders football, the idea of a neutral site NHL outdoor game started to gain some momentum. While no teams were announced, it sure seemed like a slam dunk to have the Winnipeg Jets involved given their proximity to Saskatchean’s capital city. Sure enough on New Years Day 2019, the NHL announced that Regina would get it’s Heritage Classic and that not only were the Jets the “home team” for it, they’d be playing the second closest team to Regina, the Calgary Flames.

It was a unique circumstance the Jets found themselves in. Regina is typically a rival city come football season and while Winnipeg sports fans may have been used to making the trip west around September, it was usually as the unwelcome Blue Bomber supporting visitors. Jets fans also were still a little sore from a successful if not somewhat disappointing Heritage Classic of their own back in 2016 at IG Field. While fans enjoyed seeing Winnipeg 1.0 legends back on the ice (and actually beating the Oilers this time around) the actual NHL game between the Jets and Oilers saw the Jets lose 3-0.

So despite the grandiose spectacle of it all and the picturesque scenes of hockey being played outside on a snowy Saskatchewan night, you could understand if through two periods of play in Regina and seeing their team down 1-0, if Jets fans weren’t done and finished with the idea of outdoor hockey altogether if their team was never going to score in them.

Late in the third period though the Jets did get on the board thanks to a Josh Morrissey goal, and then to cap off what turned out to be an excellent night, Bryan Little scored the overtime winner, setting off fireworks and eliciting the loudest cheer a Winnipeg team will ever hear inside of a Regina stadium.

It maybe says something that the 2019 Classic makes out top ten list of favorite Jets moments, but the 2016 version just missed out even with the added bonus of it being in Winnipeg and seeing the return of so many Jets legends and favorites like Dale Hawerchuk and Teemu Selanne. In the end the 2019 contest was maybe a little more unique, better executed than the game in 2016 and most of all, featured an actual Jets victory.

Besides, Winnipeg had already had a chance to reunite with their favorite Finnish 1.0 legend a few years earlier…


“Teemu Returns”

December 17, 2011: Teemu Selanne returns to Winnipeg ice for the first time since the 1996 trade.

It was bad enough that the Winnipeg Jets were moving south and playing the 1995-96 season – one that would end up being their last season in Winnipeg – with that dark cloud hanging over them, but at least the team had playoff potential and electrifying Teemu Selanne to entertain Winnipeg fans nightly.

Until February 7, 1996.

Selanne, along with Marc Chouinard and a fourth round pick in the 1996 draft were traded by then Jets general manager John Paddock to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for Chad Kilger, Oleg Tverdovsky and a third round pick.

Fans felt like they had been kicked in the gut yet again. Teemu himself had fallen in love with the city and his situation with the Jets and initially felt betrayed by the move. Worse yet, the city of Winnipeg never got a chance to properly thank or recognize Teemu for his time spent as a Jet. The Ducks didn’t have a game scheduled in Winnipeg for the rest of the season and by the time Teemu did get to play against his former club for the first time, they were playing in an arena built for basketball in Phoenix.

When the NHL announced that it was returning to Winnipeg in the Summer of 2011, one of the first thoughts many fans had was the anticipation of an Anaheim Ducks visit to Winnipeg which would see the return of the Finnish Flash.

Interestingly enough, it was revealed just before his game in Winnipeg that True North had actually reached out to Teemu to see if he would be interested in a return for one more season as a Jet, but at the age 41 and with a family that had roots planted in Anaheim, he politely turned down the offer.

So while Jets fans didn’t get one more full season of Teemu, they at the very least got the return and welcomed him back with one of the loudest roars heard that season.

Teemu has since been in Winnipeg multiple times beyond the visits he made with the Ducks in the final three seasons of his NHL career. He laced up skates and scored the game winner for the 1.0 Jets alumni team at the 2016 Heritage Classic. He also supported the current day Jets on during their 2018 playoff run. (He was a little more conflicted in 2015)

What happened in the actual game hardly matters – Jets won 5-3 despite Selanne’s two assist night for Anaheim – the night of December 17, 2011 was a showcase of a city’s love for a former star, and a checkbox ticked off in unresolved matters from the painful memories of 1996.