The first year back had so many great moments that I'd like to comment on and hear some of the moments that were extra special to the rest of you. I'll begin:
The most obvious: Opening game vs. Montreal
What needs to be said? April 28th, 1996 was the last real Jets game I got to witness before October 9th, 2011. People outside the arena hours and hours before puck drop on that Sunday afternoon we'd all been anticipating since May 31st. Nik Antropov scoring the first goal when it actually mattered, before the Canadiens had run away with the game. In a 5-1 loss everyone still stood and cheered the fact that NHL hockey was finally back where it belongs, in Winnipeg.
Teemu Selanne returns to Winnipeg
I honestly don't see anyone topping Teemu as my favourite pro athlete of all time. Just a great person, all the while being one of the best players to ever lace up a pair of skates. Jate crowds are relentless towards opposing players, no one on the other team escapes Jets fans' wrath.. That is, except Teemu Selanne. He was cheered wildly for assisting on another team's goals, something I suspect you will never see again at MTS Centre. We were lucky to have a man like Teemu play for us in Winnipeg, and I'm so glad that night he came back it was undeniable how much we as a city and province appreciated him.
Pre-Season Game vs. Columbus
Generally pre-season games mean very little to a team's fan base, this was one of the rare exceptions. The first "game" in a sold out arena definitely meant something. The video board intro video, the players actually hitting the ice for the first time... It was electrifying..Then Buff comes out destroying anything in a different coloured jersey within the first 10 seconds Sooo good.
I have more, but I'll open up the floor here. I'd love to hear your fondest memories of the return season!
These are the best moments from games I had the fortune to attend this year
1) Opening Game: Apart from the obvious... Despite a comedy of errors, and not making it downtown as early as I wanted, I was at MTSC before the gates opened. Got to hear an atrium full of people cheering "Bettman! Bettman!" as the commissioner walked in the front doors. Also got to go right down to glass level for the warmup -- something that the usher in my section has not allowed me to do in any game since (new policy?).
2) Crosby's Better: It turned out to be my last Jets game of the season, and the importance of that victory against the mighty Caps, and the famous chant, were just awesome.
3) He's no Teemu, but...: The Ducks game might have been my 2nd choice after the home opener, but I knew I'd be out of the province for my friend's wedding, which was on the same day as the game. I flew out the morning before, and who stands beside me as I'm waiting for my luggage? David Thomson. It was very cool to meet him, shake his hand, and personally thank him for bringing the Jets back. We talked for a few minutes about the team's return, and his trip to Winnipeg. He spoke highly of Enstrom's eagerness and enthusiasm to get playing again (he was injured at that point).
4) Canes goalies taunted: Don't remember which Canes game this was (Dec. 9 maybe??), but the crowd had been on Boucher pretty hard all night. (BOU-CHER, BOU-CHER) They pulled him, and immediately, the crowd started chanting CAM-WARD CAM-WARD to greet the new netminder.
5) TV Time: Getting on TSN Jets right near the end of the Islanders game right before Christmas was pretty sweet. The guy I was with had a sign saying "Ready if You Need Me," along with the helmet, hockey gloves and Jets jersey to show that he was, indeed, equipped to play. Tied late in the 3rd, they put the two of us on and said something like, "Yeah, the Jets might need him after all!"
6) Fitting First Win: My first time witnessing a Jets win from the stands had two things in common with the last Jets win I had ever seen in person, back in 1995: The victory came against the Devils, in December.
Easily the preseason game against Columbus. I liked how the Jets came storming out onto the ice, rather than the long drawn out intro with the Montreal game. It suited my expectations so much better than I ever could have imagined.
I also liked how the NHL began to recognize how insane a fan base we are.
Mine is the Wheeler breakaway against Buffalo. Huge game at the time and everything from the rising roar as Wheeler broke in to the ping of the crossbar to the pandemonium in MTS after the goal to Wheels' celebration was just pure hockey. Even hearing Gord Milller call the goal on NBCSN here in the States was a cool little trip down memory lane. Also the only time last season that a national audience in the US got to see the Jets and MTS at their best...
But I have to say my favorite game was the one against Boston. They were on that 10 game winning streak, and everyone was probably expecting us to lose, but despite the odds, the Jets won on a beautiful goal by Little!!! I was in the building, I think that was the loudest I've ever heard.
I will add one that has not been mentioned yet but clearly sticks out in my mind: The Phoenix game at MTS center. Every time any coyote touched the puck the roar of boo's was amazing. I figured it would last maybe to the end of the first period. Not a chance. The entire game, every time phoenix touched the puck the chorus of boo's was outstanding. I could barely talk the next day at work.