JORDAN HASLBECK, SPORTS COLUMNIST
It took me half a season, but I finally went to a Moose game — and it didn’t take long for nostalgia to set in.
When I walked into the MTS Centre, I noticed half the fans were kids. Seats are cheaper than Jets tickets, and there are plenty available for every game, which is great for birthday parties and young hockey teams.
But for me, it wasn’t seeing the crowds of kids or the logo on the jerseys or smelling the popcorn that gave me nostalgia. It was watching the fan cam.
The Jumbotron fan cam came on during the first period. At a Jets game, the camera shows people of all ages. But this one, and each fan cam after, was all kids. Each kid was probably about 10 years old, and they all lost it as soon as they saw themselves on the giant screen above the ice.
Seeing that pure excitement reminded me of how I felt when my dad would take me to Moose games back in the old Winnipeg Arena — back when I couldn’t get enough of hockey. I would wake up, pull back my NHL logo-patterned blanket and throw on a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater and Montreal Canadiens socks. All day at school, I would think about hockey practice, street hockey or playing NHL ’96. I wasn’t a fan of any one team but of the sport in general.
The Moose aren’t great this year, and my first game of 2016 proved that. They lost 7–3 to the Lake Erie Monsters, the farm team of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The score makes the game sound closer than it was. It could and should have been a lot worse.
Two days later, I went to a rematch between the two teams, and the Moose played great. Eric Comrie earned his first NHL shutout with the 4-0 win.
There were fights, nice plays and some big hits in both games — just how I remembered it as a kid.
I know it’s not the same as having the Jets back in town, but it’s nice to have a cheap alternative. For a young kid who can’t get enough of hockey, it’s perfect.
The team’s slogan, “It all starts here,” is perfect for the Moose and is true for the players and fans alike.
But one side note: The sound of a jet roaring through the MTS Centre is cool, but a moose call?
Not so much.
Jordan Haslbeck is a reporter for Bison Sports and a mediocre
beer-league hockey defenseman. He co-hosts Not Even the Press Box,
a weekly radio show about the Winnipeg Jets at radio. rrc.ca.