May 20, 2011, 1:51 AM EDT
There have been conflicting reports that a deal has been reached to relocate the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, but some Winnipeg fans are celebrating already anyway.
The Canadian Press reports that about 50 people gathered downtown to show their appreciation for the anticipated return of NHL hockey about 15 years after the Winnipeg Jets departed to become the Phoenix Coyotes. Local radio show The Illegal Curve revealed that fans “shut down the street” for at least a brief period of time.
Many of those fans were flashing Winnipeg Jets garb, often breaking into chants of “Go Jets Go” according to Chinta Puxley of the Canadian Press. Perhaps Winnipeg fans might be a little sad that the team almost certainly won’t be named the Jets if the relocation goes through, but something tells me they’ll deal with that disappointment quite well.
Puxley caught up with Ron Ramirez, a fan who went to Jets games as a child.
“You could see Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux for $6,” said the 44-year-old who wrote part of his master’s thesis on the impact of the Jets’ departure on Winnipeg. “I’m jazzed about this. I’m elated. It brings me back to my childhood days, what it was like to be a Jets fan.”
Although some are throwing cold water on the reported deal, Ramirez is hopeful.
“I think it’s true,” he said. “But I’ve been disappointed for the last 15 years.”
It’s unfortunate that a deep disappointment for Thrashers fans could bring great happiness to Winnipeg hockey nuts. Then again, ‘Peg fans can relate, since the same thing happened to them about 15 years ago.
Naturally, the move isn’t official by any means, but it looks more likely as the days go by. Stay with PHT for updates on this developing story.
In the mean time, enjoy a few more photos of the celebrating Winnipeg fans. All photos (including the main image) come from John Woods of The Associated Press.
This just in: Canadians really love hockey.
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