May 20, 2011, 1:51 AM EST
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.
- Comparing the records of all 30 teams in the last two months 21
- Lightning ride Paquette’s first hat trick to Atlantic lead 7
- Price wins goalie duel vs. Lundqvist as Habs edge Rangers 4
- Leafs’ luck: Bernier gives up long distance goal, things unravel in third 20
- AHL announces new Pacific Division — who could go west next? 34
- Babcock didn’t think Wings would be ‘near where we’re at’ 15
- Brodeur announces retirement, leaves ‘the game with a big smile on my face’ 15
- NHL on NBCSN: Sharks’ ‘dog fight’ continues vs. red hot Ducks 5
- NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Canadiens seek edge as divisional battles intensify 2
- Struggling Kings complete the comeback against Blackhawks 11