Monday, January 7, 2013

The Return of the Winnipeg Jets - Post Lockout

After Labour Fight, the Jets Return
I don't have to remind anyone in the city how cruel it seemed that we just get our team back and we have a labour dispute and no hockey. I don't know if this deal is a good deal for the NHL or not. I don't know if it is a good deal for the Winnipeg Jets. I guess the evidence for that is yet to be produced.

I suspect that for some southern teams, the only way the deal works is if local governments continue to pour money in.

How will Winnipeg fans react to the return of the team? I think they will be back. However, certain players on the team are going to be in for more scrutiny this year due to their locked out performances. Evander Kane will be under the microscope. He would have faced increased pressures to become a star regardless of the lock out. Still, a few publicity related gaffes have drawn ire. All is forgiven if he does his job and does it well though.

No doubt Ondrej Pavelec will face an unexpected scrutiny as well. His off season drunken driving conviction and so so performance overseas in hockey raises questions. And not just with the fans. The management of the team hadn't spoken to him all through the summer because he wasn't here. Imagine their surprise later when a contract is signed about the DUI.

Ron Hainsey was a key negotiator for the players. He was extremely tough. Right or wrongly, people are going to ask if he will be tough on the ice this season too. he has to step up. Any player regarded as being soft is going to rankle.

I think our Jets ownership continues to show class. By all accounts, Mark Chipman was regarded as a credit at the table. At the time, it looked like a deal was in the offing.

It is a short season and anything can happen. It will be a sprint to the play-offs and if the Jets get in, I expect the city to go nuts.

As far as the side effects of the Jets return, I believe there will be a renewal of interest in restaurant and bar owners establishing themselves downtown. The casualty of 4Play Sports turning into a supper club is not entirely a bad news story. If the owners think they can get more people on nights other than game days so much the better.

The format change does indicate that just because the MTS Centre is close doesn't mean you don't need to be fleet footed in your operation. Still, a ten year deal for hockey means that food service people can plan longer term.

If there is evidence for long term planning, it is with the Chipman family themselves. Their company Longboat partnered with Artis are well underway with their commercial development across the street. The mixed use development will feature giant restaurant Milestone's and an Asian restaurant.

Overall, we have ten years of labour peace, a beloved team back where they belong and development plans to create some excitement in and around the MTS Centre.

I think even the grumpiest among us will say:

Let the games begin.


Anonymous said...


John Dobbin said...

Anon: Thanks. I just caught that now. And I was worried about Pavelec's name being spelled right. :p