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Jets coach: If Green Bay can attract players, so can Winnipeg

Apr 9, 2012, 4:08 PM EDT

Claude Noel Getty Images

Jets coach Claude Noel met with the media Sunday to share his thoughts on the end of Winnipeg’s season.

Noel touched on a number of topics, including the team’s attitude towards winning, which he says must improve.

“We have to want and expect to be in the playoffs,” he said. “Our conduct, our existence just has to be better, that’s where it starts.”

But perhaps most interesting were his comments on the club’s ability to attract players to the smallest market in the NHL, and one that won’t find its name on the list of most exotic cities on the planet.

“I think we’ve got a good thing going here and not for one second will I take a back seat to anywhere else,” Noel said. “We’re a good team. This is a great place to play. It’s going to be a destination players are going to want to come to. And if they don’t want to, then don’t come. It’s that simple.

“Green Bay (Packers) wins. What the hell’s in Green Bay? You been to Green Bay? I mean, I’ve been to Green Bay. It’s a nice town, but… Winnipeg’s going to be a good place to play. I think players really like it and the response we get from our players is they love playing here. It won’t be for everybody. So be it. Some guys might want to golf all year round. Go ahead.

“I learned a long time ago you don’t sell your soul to get a player to come. You get him to come for the right reasons and you’ll win.”

Hard to disagree with Noel’s point. If you’re a hockey player that cares more about the game than the nightlife or weather, why wouldn’t you want to play in Winnipeg? There are plenty of opportunities to hit the bars on the road. There aren’t many, if any, places you can play in front of fans like that on a regular basis.

Granted, your wife or girlfriend might see things differently, but if that’s the way she’s going to be, fine, you’ll go to Florida.

“But we’re getting a hot housekeeper.”

  1. buffalomafia - Apr 9, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    To bad Atlanta ownership didn’t think that way!

  2. davebabychreturns - Apr 9, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Gotta say, from afar Claude Noel is a good thing for the league. There’s always a shortage of (employed) hockey guys willing to speak their mind..

  3. cweez2 - Apr 9, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Having a winning history helps. Not saying they can’t in the ‘Peg, but winning cures all.

  4. govtminion - Apr 9, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    He has a good point. If you have a guy who is focused on the job, he won’t be concerned about the night life and such (see: Carter, Jeff).

    …That said, I recall the reason Pronger left Edmonton a few years back was because his wife didn’t like living there. And that brings up my one concern- family. If a player is on the road half the year and all, great, but if his family is stuck living somewhere they don’t want to be, that kind of means he has to pick between his family’s wishes and his own. That’s not a fun call to make- and it means players without families are the ones that are most likely to play in places like Winnipeg and Edmonton, one would think.

    NOTE: I’m not saying those are bad places to be- I actually like Edmonton, though I’ve not had a chance to visit Winnipeg. I’m viewing this based on the Pronger situation a while back, not on my own opinion.

    • davebabychreturns - Apr 9, 2012 at 5:18 PM

      I thought the scuttlebutt was that Pronger had, erm, another iron in the fire in Edmonton and his wife wanted him out of that town.

      Anyway there are lots of similar reports, Michael Nylander’s wife was apparently reduced to tears upon hearing he was signing in Edmonton and he backed out after the last minute and signed with Washington instead.

    • DTF31 - Apr 9, 2012 at 5:22 PM

      Thats the story, but around here people know the story is a lot closer to something about Pronger not being the most faithful husband while his family wasn’t around and a well hushed drama circus that surrounded that.

      But lots of players live away from their family. Luongo’s wife is still in Florida I think. Nabakov just brought his family to NY after like 2 years. Brad Stuart’s wife and kids are still living in the Bay area. Short term contract players usually don’t uproot their family with them every time they get a new team

      Its more a convenient excuse and something for fans to pile on. If you win games players will come.

  5. mikebel11 - Apr 9, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    They don’t need to go on the road to hit bars. If you’ve ever been to Winnipeg you know they have an insane bar scene and the Blue Bombers are treated as royalty at whatever place they choose. That’s the Blue Bombers, they play in the CFL. If you play for the Jets you become more powerful than the mayor and more popular than Whiskey Dix (which is one of the many bars you’ll be treated as royalty at).

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Apr 9, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      Huh?

    • solador78 - Apr 9, 2012 at 5:59 PM

      Ah bars… the best place to bring pro athletes and organized criminals like Bodog together.

      How much hookers and blow did it take for the Bombers to lose the Grey Cup to the one owner that owns teams in every division?

  6. rico33rd - Apr 9, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Work at home and play on the road like everyone else does. Obviously the current Jets lived up to that.

  7. rca26 - Apr 9, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Well, Green Bay is also the football equivalent of Original Six, and nobody DID want to play there until they started winning again after decades of mediocrity.

    So, get a Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers type, and then guys will be beating down the door, Claude. Like any other franchise. But I’m glad he’s not making excuses, at least.

    • comeonnowguys - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      Reggie White was the trigger. Uncle Pervy certainly helped.

  8. emperorzero - Apr 9, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    If you win they will come, is a bogus statement and this is coming from a Green Bay Packers fan. Places like Winnipeg need to draft players or sign players that are about winning. Girlfriends/wives play a huge factor in where a player goes. I have nothing against Winnipeg, but if the money is the same, is a player going to go to New York or Winnipeg? Chances are the significant other will push hard for the larger city. That’s not the case with all players, but it’s a general rule of thumb. Going back to the Green bay comparison, you don’t see top free agents beating down the door to come to Green Bay and that’s why you see them build through the draft and take players from the Midwest often because those guys already know what it’s like culture/climate wise.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Apr 9, 2012 at 7:22 PM

      Yeah because nobody had ever heard of Reggie White before he came to the Packers as a free agent.

      That’s how Teddy Thompson rolls. He doesn’t sign big name free agents. He uses his draft picks wisely, which as it pains me to say, is the way your suppose to build any team that has a salary cap.

  9. bleed4philly - Apr 9, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Anyone can lure free agents As long As the organization isnt a joke. Unless of course it’s the NBA, then you’re pretty much screwed.

  10. pavelfitzgerald - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Govtminion – Chris Pronger’s wife did ask to leave Edmonton, but it was because Chris was banging the local weather girl ..
    I agree with Emperer. You haveto buil thru the draft, much like Gren Bay. Sure they signed Reggie White at one point to help put them “over the top” but mostly it’s been thru good drafts. Winnipeg isn’t pretending to be New York & doesn’t want to be. Players with famalies will love the small town, community, friendly vibe. Guys like Carter & Richards will always have LA

  11. farvefromover - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    championships help………………….. alot

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