December 27, 2004
World Junior Jets Fans
Kudos to all of those who helped in the "Go Jets Go" chants that were heard loud and clear coast-to-coast during TSN's broadcast of the Canada vs. Sweden game this afternoon. Each time the panel aired a discussion about the game they were drowned-out by the distinct chants of "Go Jets Go" from the fans huddled around the broadcast centre in the concourse of Ralph Englestad Arena. Yet another clear message to the NHL and to the country that we want our team back. Good job!
December 25, 2004
December 23, 2004
Doer Says We're Ready
After speaking with a Winnipeg Sun reporter yesterday, it became clear that an article was going to show up in the paper today about how Winnipeg may be ready for the NHL because of our AHL attendance and the NHL lockout. Laughing, I made it clear to him that is what this campaign has been saying all along. That is, that this time would inevitably come and we'd be front-runners for a healthy NHL again. I guess I was too positive because he left me out. (Yes, that's right Garth Butcho...ME, ME, ME!!)
That fact is, I am growing tired of the people that want to finally realize that the climate is right for a Winnipeg re-birth into the NHL. They act like all of this is a big surprise. We knew an arena was coming, we knew a economic lockout was looming and we know we have the best hockey fans on earth. So why is all of this just beginning to dawn on some people! On a side note, this is why there is no harm in supporting the Moose right now. The fact that the AHL is the "next best league" bides well for publicity and MTS Centre shows up on national television on a regular basis. Just remember to wear your Jets peacefully.
If 9,000 fans (aka tickets) can come to MTS Centre and support the inferior AHL, at around $22 might I add, then it is quite clear that 15,000 would show up for the NHL at around $60 average ticket prices.
Scientific proof? No. Gut feeling? Yes.
Premier Doer stated that only NHL economics need to be improved before we are ready for the NHL again. Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce president Dave Agnus added to that the lack of a "robust economy" to support a franchise.
Scientific proof? No. Hearsay? Yes.
Before I begin to give critics their proof that we can afford the NHL again, I'd like some hard stats from them.
I challenge the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce to produce the contacts of the top 100 businesses in Manitoba to JetsOwner.com. I want to hear that over 50 of them would not support the NHL by way of luxury suite or club seats before I even begin to buy into "the fact" that we do not have the corporate support or large enough economy.
One thing is certain, our Premier is on board. And why shouldn't he be? He realizes a pro sports team can only help the province and therefore the reflection of him as the leader of that province. Plus, like any Winnipegger, he is a true hockey fan. Read the article here.
December 20, 2004
Good to see all the Jets gear at MTS Centre Saturday night. It was my first experience with the dreaded black curtain that sealed off the tax-payer portion of the seating bowl. Even worse was the complete lack of energy in the building from start to finish. I remember the buzz you would get going to a hockey game 9 years ago in Winnipeg. We're bored.
On a lighter note, I did take in the whole skywalk luxury. I must say it is a unique feature and indeed one that is necessary in our climate. We parked in the Portage Place parkade where they took our money (only $3) in advance as to allow for quick exit at the end of the evening. From this point on a jacket wasn't even necessary. Once inside the heated parkade we took the elevator to the skywalk system which lead us straight into the main atrium of MTS Centre (although they may need to pump more heat into this area during very cold nights). Throughout the evening, the only line longer than any given mens washroom was the Tim Horton's line. Were they putting Bailey's in the coffee or what? It is clear that even in MTS Centre Tim's license to print money continues. The footlong hot dog for $5 hit the spot but finding my seats proved to be difficult. I had assumed they would be on the aisle seeing that they were seats 1 and 2. To my surprise they were right in the middle of the row directly beside seat 23. That seat was apparently the last in section 215. Section 216 began mid-row with my seats. Very interesting how you can buy two seats in two different sections and sit right next to each other.
It was great to meet some new supporters as well as see some familiar faces in section 221. Painted, shirtless and loud, but respectful at the same time. This is the image we want to portray.
December 16, 2004
Post-Game Get Together
The conclusion that has be reached is that Shannon's Irish Pub will serve as the pre-game location while Fox & Hounds Tavern will serve as the post-game get together. It is barely into St. James right at route 90 on Portage. This is an easy bus, cab or drive from MTS Centre and a much more open atmosphere to gather in. Pints are cheap and times are good. Remember to take the bus or a cab if you are drinking. You want to be able to have your licence when the celebration parade cruises the streets of Winnipeg one day!
I will not be in attendance for the pre-game gathering but will surely be there for the post-game. You can meet meinside the main Donald & Portage entrance at 7pm sharp for JetsOwner.com cards to hand out.
And once again, be respectable throughout the evening. If people take exception to the idea, let them have their opinion. Just tell them we want a more exciting city and to stay positive. This will have to be your promise to the campaign...to always be civil. Have fun!
December 15, 2004
Rejected Proposal No Surprise
It came as no surprise that the latest NHLPA proposal was rejected by the NHL yesterday. It solved no systemic issues and, for reasons discussed in the December 10th post, it would have spelled certain doom for the league almost instantly.
In other news, check out this Edmonton Journal article from Monday. Also this ESPN Poll has Winnipeg atop the list of votes for NHL relocation (58.7%). Here's the breakdown:
58.7% Winnipeg, Manitoba
54.2% Quebec City
28.1% Hamilton, Ontario
20.0% Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
19.3% Portland, Ore.
15.6% Las Vegas
7.0% Kansas City
2.2% Oklahoma City
Now go vote!
Be sure to vote for your desired location for the post-game party this Saturday night. Results will be posted on Thursday. The poll is on the WhiteOut board. I will also give out camapign cards to those interested in distributing prior to the game inside the main Donald & Portage entrance at 7pm sharp.
December 10, 2004
The Newest CBA Proposal
It is clear to anyone with common sense that the newest propsal set by the NHLPA is nothing but smoke and mirrors. Once people get past the significant rollback in salaries they will see that the system set out in the propsal offers little solution to the game's problems.
The 24% rollback in "all existing player contracts" is a tactic to overshadow the short-comings elsewhere in the proposed agreement. If a deal like this were to be accepted we would see new contracts escalate yet again, merely repeating history. Essentially, all the deal does is rollback the years to 1995 and force us to relive the experience. If you remember, Winnipeg wasn't part of that experience and we likely wouldn't be again this time.
The second most significant concession of a 20 cent tax on payrolls over $45 million, 50 cents for over $50 million and 60 cents for over $60 million is peanuts for the teams in the league that have unlimited resources. Take into account the following numbers that I have crunched:
a) With the proposed luxury tax system in place we would see $7.1 million pooled from the overages of 7 teams that would have a payroll of between $45 and $59 million (according to the 2003-04 payrolls and taking into account the 24% rollback). That leaves 23 teams to each receive a whopping $309,000 in luxury tax kickbacks. That doesn't even pay a quarter season's wage for an average player.
b) Even when (and it will happen) the payrolls re-inflate to current levels, calculations (based on the actual 2003-04 figures) would amount to a pool of $40.3 million in luxury taxes from the overages of 12 teams that would have a payroll between $45 and $77 million. Even that amount leaves each of the other 18 teams a mere $2.25 million in kickbacks. That will cover an average player's salary and a fraction of an average team's operating losses.
Clearly, this deal does nothing for the the health of the league in the long term and under this deal we will back in this exact position in 2010. Except next time there will be at least 8 less teams.
For Winnipeg and this campaign's sake, we can only hope that NOTHING even close to this package is accepted by the NHL. It is a start but sadly gives little control over spending.
My analogy of the day: The river represents the economic health of the NHL, the beaver represents the player and the dam represents the salaries of players. All must co-exist yet function properly.
When a beaver has it's dam partly destroyed (say by 24%) it helps the river to flow again. But inevitably that dam will be rebuilt and the water will stop flowing once again. Just because the dam was downsized temporarily doesn't mean anybody is around to police how large the dam gets rebuilt again. We must control the amount of logs given to the beavers in order for them to live happily but yet allow the river flow successfully.
I would think that the only way a luxury tax system will be significant enough to effect the economis of the game and small market teams is for the threshold to be a dollar-for-dollar luxury tax for anything over a $30 million payroll. That way (under the 2003-04 salaries) we would see a pool of $450.7 million from 25 teams that are over that payroll. That would leave $90.1 million for each of the remaining 5 teams. Sounds silly right? That's exactly what would make payrolls come down. Nobody is going to want to pay out this kind of tax and it would reflect in what owners would be willing to pay players.
For example, the Detroit Red Wings would have to dish out and additional $47.9 million which is the exact amount they would be over a $30 million payroll capper. That would bring their total payroll to nearly $126 million ($77.9 + $47.9) if they wanted to keep the players they have at the same pay. Under the proposed deal with a payroll cut of 24%, they would be left with a $59 million payroll and pay 50 cents on $9 million of that. That leaves the wealthy Detroit Red Wings with a luxury tax payment of $4.5 million. You think they can swing that seeing as though they already pay out $77.9 million right now? I certainly think so. So should the NHL. And reject this deal flatly.
Salary figures used to crunch numbers courtesy of USA Today.
December 7, 2004
Upcoming Event in the Works
There will be an announcement soon regarding another JetsOwner.com social event. A few details need to be worked out before it is official so stay tuned. We need a place to let loose and be amongst the overwhelming majority that are with us.
Wow, you can really get sucked into being a old-fashioned Pegger reading too many of these chat boards. I wish I had the kind of time people seem to have on these forums. I can't even read the threads anymore due to the fact that they've gotten so ridiculous with conspiracy theories that it is almost nauseating.
Yes MTSC could have been on a better piece of land, but it also could have been non-existent or built with 10,000 seats. Thankfully it wasn't. The land was chosen before the capacity was chosen. However, at least we had somebody force MTSC to be an NHL caliber capacity (thank you Glen Murray).
Everyone must realize that, at this point, everything but what the website is called has fallen into place. The only official piece of the puzzle left, I believe, is the actual Jets Owner. The arena is done, the NHL is in disarray and I have no doubt teams are ready to uproot. Once it becomes clearer as to what the CBA will look like, it will also become clearer who our Jets Owners will be.
Some feel it is our duty as Winnipeggers to find fault in anything that exists within the perimeter highway. The arena concourses could be wider, there could be more washrooms and maybe Hargrave should have been wiped out altogether as to create 50 more feet of width for the building (had to get that in!). But lets look at the incredible seating bowl with incredible sightlines, including spectacular luxury box views. Or the club bar in the endzone. There are many good aspects of the building. Lets just stay focused on our main goal...to see NHL hockey return and enjoy the downtown that could exist with obtaining that goal.
A unique arena for a unique city. There's only one Winnipeg.
December 1, 2004
The Boards and a Final Plea
I visited the Moose board for the first time today. Wow. There are seriously too many people that are way off-base about me and are on the defensive. I can handle it but it is truly amazing the way people assume things. The mis-conceptions and messages people are gathering about this campaign are so far off it can't even be measured. Unfortunately it has come to the point where too many people are speaking for the campaign instead of with it.
On that note please visit our board to read a warning concerning its existance and affliation with JetsOwner.com.
That being said, those of you who plan to attend the December 18th Moose game, PLEASE PLEASE carry yourself with dignity. How you act reflects this campaign and its repuation. I have blessed the event but out of respect for pro-Jets supporters, keep it civil and progressive. Those who choose to support the Moose have every right to watch a hockey game without being verbally abused.
Wear your Jets? Absolutely.
Spread the campaign? Sure.
Try to be seen on TV? With all your might.
But keep it pro-Jets and stray from anti-Moose. One can certainly exist without the other.
I have spoken to the Manitoba Moose regarding the behavior of some posters on both discussion boards. We understand it is a very emotionally-charged topic but everyone must respect eachother's viewpoints and challenge them in a mature manner. This will be the last time I will mention this issue. Otherwise, a discussion board will not be part of JetsOwner.com. Contrary to popular belief, this is not censorship but merely protecting this campaign's reputation. You all should care deeply about that.
November 30, 2004
Where Our Hearts and Wallets Lay
Below is a recent full colour ad from River City Sports promoting merchandise for Winnipeg hockey fans. Seems 85% of the space is dedicated to a team that hasn't existed for 9 years. Our current team gets the 15% of leftover space at the bottom. Eight Moose items compared to over fifty Jets items. To grab an early 90's saying...things that make you go hmmmmmm (copyright Arsenio Hall).
It is clear they are catering to the demand. People like to remember the good times and hope for them to return.
November 26, 2004
JetsOwner.com Night at MTSC (Revised)
By popular demand there is to be an official peaceful protest at the Saturday, December 18th Manitoba Moose game vs. the Hamilton Bulldogs. By peaceful I mean in a mature and organized fashion. Supporters are urged to purchase seats in sections 221 or 222 which are located in the corner of the rink and visible by TV cameras (that is if they can penetrate the mesh!). Sportsnet will cover the game coast-to-coast that evening and you are all encouraged to sport white shirts, signage and/or campaign awareness. I will upload a poster to print off should you have ideas to promote the event at various locations around Winnipeg. Look for that soon.
As for afterwards, if the Tavern United is open by then (Mark Chipman told me they hoped by Christmas) we can flood that establishment with Jets after the game. Give them a sense of what it could be like and what business they are missing night in and night out...twenty-somethings. If it is not open then we will find an alternative. I look forward to meeting you all since I've only had brief encounters with a few of you.
These ideas are exactly what is needed. I cannot plan events entirely and expect people to buy into them. There has to be desire from the masses. I will endorse any idea that is carried out in a well-behaved and mature manner. Anything else just hurts the cause. We know what we want and we are the future of this city. Let it be known. Otherwise Calgary may need to make room for another suburb. St. James, Alberta? Yuk!
On a side note, the WhiteOut social on November 20th in Cowtown went extremely well and sold out. An informant of mine said they played WhiteOuts from 1996, 1990 and 1987. There was a dance floor and I was told that "Jump hasn't sounded so good since back in the day". Apparently about 75% of people were wearing either white or a Jets jersey. Fun times.
November 19, 2004
Here is the message loud and clear courtesy of Kevin and Matt. Other signs like these were visible throughout the night.
Remember, those who choose to follow Moose hockey while they wait for the NHL's return should be respected. Most of them want the Jets back too but are content with what we have until that time arrives. It is the people who are staunch non-believers who I'll never understand. Since when is "movin' on up" a bad thing? The Jeffersons did it and so can we.
November 18, 2004
The Night In Review
Well, a new era of sports has begun in Winnipeg. It was a rejuvenating feeling watching hockey with 15,000 people again. I parked indoors at The Delta, took in some dinner at the Elephant & Castle and went to the game with my Dad. Problems parking? No way. As I have always said, people were making way too big a deal out of where to park. There is plenty of space especially when you factor in that all of those outdoor parking lots are fair game after 6pm.
To my surprise, the staff did allow fans to move freely between both concourses which allowed me to show my Dad the upper bowl concourse. On a side note, a center-ice seat in the upper bowl is far superior than where we were seated, low in the corner. I'm sorry, I know I've been detatched from hockey too long, but I just can't get past that protective meshing in the endzones. It really de-values endzone seating even more than they already were. It is too busy and distracting for my liking.
The food is great, the beer is ice-cold and the concourses are easily navigated.
One major concern, and I'm not joking, is the Mens washrooms. I never got to see one because I couldn't wait in the line-up to get in. Looks to me like while they were trying to rectify the Womens washroom problems of the old barn, they over-compensated. To the ladies delight not one washroom saw a single female outside the door waiting. On the contrary, the men were waiting the entire intermission (and more) to get in. I managed to find a private "family" washroom. This might be of concern and True North may need to look at converting one Womens washroom to a Mens. While the trough was primitive we have forgotten how many guys you could squeeze into one.
They did have some minor problems with the ice in the south-west corner. No biggie.
There are certainly more majestic buildings in the NHL, but again, are they necessary? What we have is the smallest possible arena to make the NHL cut. However, it is ultra-modern, every seat is excellent and it has the ability to be the loudest, most intimidating building for a visiting team to step into. You can feel it once you're in there. Not yet of course, but you can imagine. That place could blow the dial off the decibal meter if given the chance.
The gentleman I was sitting beside hadn't been to a hockey game in Winnipeg since Game 6 of the 1990 Stanley Cup playoofs vs. the Oilers. There were many stories like this one throughout the night. People really came out for the grand unveiling. The question is will they return. It will be tough. I know the players want to believe that the old ghosts of the Jets were left behind with Winnipeg Arena, but that is very unrealistic. The place was full of Jets jerseys for the cameras (good job!), mainly people in their 20s. These are the groups that won't be flocking home directly after the game. Instead they will pour more money into the downtown economy. Stay downtown after work and catch dinner before the game. A few pints, another bite to eat, maybe even a live band somewhere after the game. The point is, the whole concept requires those 15,000 people tonight to be there every game night. Sadly but truthfully they won't.
I had a good time tonight, with my Dad, with Winnipeg. The hockey wasn't even that bad. I'd imagine the players were pretty stoked to play in front of 15,000 people in a state-of-the-art arena on national televison. How many of those guys are used to telling there reletives that they are on TV tonight.
Regardless, it was fun and it was impressive overall. If anything, being in the MTS Centre will start sparking more thoughts of the Jets coming back for many people. You wait. Here come the believers...
November 17, 2004
Opening Night For MTSC
A reminder to everyone attending tonight's game to wear your Jets! The national media will be covering the game and we need to be seen as much as possible. I will be in the lower bowl taking in the new era. I plan on doing dinner downtown before the game and parking down there as well. I want to test the whole system. I don't anticipate any issues.
November 11, 2004 - L'est We Forget
Just to clarify to all supporters: I have had dozens of huge promotional ideas over the past two years. Some cost too much money. The rest were well planned out but were highly suggested to not take place. Don't worry. This doesn't represent threats by opposing sides at all. I know everyone wants the camapign to be plastered all down Portage Avenue on billboards and store windows. That's how I envisioned it too. It doesn't need to be. Again, you have to trust me here. Just keep talking Jets, keep buying Jets and keep wearing Jets. River City Sports already spends 80% of their colour flyers on advertising Jets gear! That speaks volumes and people notice it. Key people.
By all means be vocal about the campaign. Stands on street corners, outside MTSC, call into to shows and write letters.
Which brings me to the little piece of "hate mail" that arrived courtesy of CJOB's president. If it had any truth to it I would have burried it deep in my garbage. Although the garbage is where it indeed belongs, I did need to present it to all of you to show the shear ignorance and mis-representation it presents. It can be found on the "WhiteOut" board. To say this campaign has ever referred to itself as anything but "WE" is laughable in itself. To say it has "Moose bashed" is also false. And to top it off, this all coming from someone who has admittedly visited the site twice in 19 months. Brilliant.
No worries everyone. WE should be used to it by now. But from the president of a respected radio station? Wow.
November 9, 2004
New Discussion Board
By popular demand, a new "WhiteOut" board is now up and running. It follows the more typical format of creating new topics and requiring usernames to eliminate false identities. Though I can certainly do without the "smilies" and the general messy nature of the board, it does satisfy the masses. Enjoy.
Be sure to keep it clean and constructive!
November 8, 2004
WhiteOut In Cowtown?
On Saturday November 20th a Jets "WhiteOut" social is going to be held in Calgary. After a successful event last year, the organizers have planned another this year. Notice the Pokey and the Bandit clips on the poster!
November 7, 2004
End Of An Era
Good to see you supporters at the game. I saw many campaign t-shirts throughout the night. I should say evening because I am posting this at 8:27pm. The ceremony was nice but I found I just couldn't force myself to be entertained by the hockey nor care whether they got two points in the standings. In fact, I found that I got angry after the good-bye ceremony. Don't worry, I don't have issues! I just have that state of mind that Teemu should be skating around the ice, not decked out in a suit. This city deserves the best hockey and deserves that passion again. There was no passion this evening beyond the odd Go-Jets-Go chant and Teemu's arrival. It is really sad. The hearts of Manitobans lay with one hockey club. The Winnipeg Jets. It was beyond evident tonight seeing so many clad in Jets gear.
Rest In Peace Winnipeg Arena.
May your cheers echo forever in the hearts of everyone. Here's to MTS Centre and its upcoming era. Can that passion be replicated there too? Only with the red, white and blue.
November 5, 2004
Sportsnet, TSN and The Final Game
You may notice Sportsnet running that story that was taped a month ago on their news today. Unfortunately for all versions but Manitoba's, myself and Scott Taylor are edited out of the segment. Figures. You can guess whose angles were the most positive for the NHL returning. What was left in the piece was Tim Campbell being blatently negative. Thankfully Bob Irving wasn't in it! Mr. Campbell brilliantly cruches his figures using 12,800 fans as a base. He leaves nothing else open for revenue sources and basically writes Manitoba off as an NHL market. And so perpetuates the notion to the rest of Canada that Winnipeg is small-time. Meanwhile Mark Chipman is quoted throughout saying things like he "wouldn't count this community out if they had another chance to bring NHL hockey back" and "certainly the possibilty is there" if the NHL rectifies its problems. Be sure to wear your Jets Saturday night, if not for the cause then strictly for Tim Campbell, a true old-fashioned Winnipegger.
TSN also included a Top 10 Moments at Winnipeg Arena on SportsCentre. They were as follows:
10. Dale Hawerchuck scores 50th goal, only time in his career.
9. 1999 world junior hockey championship, Luongo + Canada win Silver.
8. Deron Quint scores two goals in 5 seconds. (NHL record-Tie)
7. Jets retire numbers of three players Hull, Hawerchuck, Steen.
6. Game 3 of the summit series 4-4
5. Jets playoff whiteout, which began in 1985, only worked in 87 against the flames.
4. Jets Win 3rd Avco Cup in 1979.
3. May 1995 arena hosts a farewell ceremony, but Jets comeback for 1 more season.
2. Teemu Selanne breaks rookie scoring record. 52,53,54 Bossy's record is no more.
1. Jets last hockey game april 28th, Game 6 against the Red Wings.
Not sure about that Deron Quint one, but oh well.
Anyone interested in getting a stack of campaign cards to dish out to people at the game can meet me at 5:45pm SHARP at the "reserved tickets" window just inside the main north end doors.