Favorite Jets Memories

MC Hockey
September 01 2011 02:06PM

 

 

 

To start off my contributions here at Jets Nation, I just wanted to share just 3 of my favorite memories of watching the Jets as a boy/young adult. I grew up in Winnipeg and stayed until I was 25 years old when the Jets left and broke my man-heart. The old incarnation of the team, called “Jets (1979)” by the NHL, had some interesting, crazy, and wild ups-and-downs in their first go-round! Here’s a few that I recall and hope to hear your best stories as well!

1. Teemu Selanne’s Record-Setting Goal

As a stressed-out university student with little money (aren’t they all?), I was able to use my pennies to grab some very high-up, end-zone seats to see the Jets play the Quebec Nordiques on March 2, 1993. This was just a few days after the Finnish Flash scored an incredible 4 goals versus Minnesota on February 28, so I was ecstatic to be there, but was doubtful I would see the rookie goal-scoring record get broken that night. Luckily, Teemu came through with goals 52 and then 53 (to tie Mike Bossy’s record) to make the crowd go crazy with anticipation! Then, late in the game got #54 and did the best celebration ever by throwing his glove in the air and shooting it down as if wielding a machine gun, a moment I now have immortalized in a souvenir picture obtained at a Flames game this past New Year’s Eve. That celebration was the best ever….so damn cool! On a side note, it’s a rare feat that Teemu’s best season came as a rookie in scoring 77 + 56 = 132 points in an expanded 84-game season that included 2 neutral site games per team.

2. A Big Bounce-Back Game in the Big Bounce-Back Season

Probably not one many of you would have on your list, but it meant something to me as the Jets had suffered through the previous 1980-81 season with only 9 wins (to go with 57 losses and 14 ties) and set the undesirable record of 30 consecutive games without a win. All the Jets fans were so excited to see #1 overall draft pick Dale Hawerchuk on the ice to begin the next season and the Jets were starting out their 1981-82 season very well with a 7 wins, 5 losses, and 2 ties entering their Remembrance Day game at the Met Centre versus the North Stars. The scores of previous games had been quite high in some cases but nothing would compare to the total devastation of the 15-2 loss they suffered that night. I was thinking “oh my God, even with Hawerchuk on the team, we may still suck” and cried myself to sleep (yes….seriously!). However, just a few nights later on November 14, the bounce-back game happened as the Jets fought back in a close contest and scored in the last few seconds to win a 3-2 match over the L.A. Kings at the Forum. "Whew" I thought, "this game counts as much as the other one so I will take it and allow myself to have some hope for this hard-luck team!"

3. Playoff Success - Finally!

As a fan who continued to suffer as the Jets started fielding good teams in the Hawerchuk era only to lose quickly in the playoffs, it was heartening to see the team doing well in their first round 1985 Smythe division semi-final series. Playing versus the Flames, the Jets were doing well and perhaps going to show the league their history against Alberta teams could change come playoff-time. But in game 3, Flames defenseman Jamie Macoun delivered a dirty hit on star Hawerchuk to knock him out for the rest of the playoffs. However, the gutsy Jets responded with a great game the next night on April 14, besting Calgary 5-3 at the Saddledome in front of backup goalie Marc Behrend. Finally, the Jets had won their first playoff series! An amazing feat… but noting that the season ultimately ends again in Edmonton. The Jets eventually finished with a playoff record of 4 wins and 22 losses against the Gretzky-fuelled Oilers…and you thought the current NHL divisions were tough!

 

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MC Hockey (Marty Clarke) is a born-and-raised-and-educated Winnipegger. He is now a long-time Calgarian and attends many Flames games. With the triumphant Winnipeg Jets return, he will figure out how to split his loyalties over time while covering the Jets with some positive energy and critical analysis. Follow him on Twitter at Real_MC_Hockey
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#1 Lukowich
September 01 2011, 03:44PM
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Best memory would have to be getting out of class, piling in a car and driving to Winnipeg to watch the Jets finish off Calgary. It was in the early days of the whiteout and was absolute mayhem. I have never experienced anything even remotely as loud as that crowd. The whole building was shaking.

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#2 Brett
September 02 2011, 03:11AM
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I came into awareness of life and all things Jets in the mid 80's. The WHA, Hull, Hedberg and the AVCO cups were all legend to me by the time I cam around. The Jets were all gods to me, but I got a sense of how big a deal in the city when Hawerchuk got married. I seem to recall it was the big news story of the week, cameras everywhere. It was Winnipegs little royal wedding. He may been married in Ontario, for the record. Tough to argue with the Selanne rookie season, and record breaking goal, as the highlight. I was lucky enough to be at that game, the place was nuts. They had a road trip coming up, and he had to score something like 7 goals in 2 games to break the record at home. Sure enough, he did. And Domi got an assist. Getting Domi (and Kris King) was an exciting time. He was the guy that could beat Probert, and now he was protecting Teemu. It was an unbelievable time to be a young Jets fan. That year, Tkachuk and Zhamnov also arrived. Helluva year. I remember a playoff game with my dad against the canucks, and during the intermission, one of the Jets skated across the ice to the dressing room after doing an interview. The crowd went nuts. In the intermission. I got to help Ed Olcyzk move, inadvertently. He lived in the neighbourhood, and everybody knew. It wasn't really a secret. All the kids would routinely go to his house to get autographs. I hadn't been to see him yet, and one day a moving truck was in front of his house, so my friend and I decided to say hi before he was gone. We were starstruck, but we went up and asked him for an autograph. He said yes - as long as we helped him move some boxes. So we did, and he brought out his official Jets autograph pad (which they all had in the day) and signed us some autographs. Phil Housley also lived in the 'hood, but he was a bit cold to us when we went to his house unsolicited to ask for his signature. Now that I'm a full grown man, I completely understand. No hard feeling, Phil. I could go on, and will briefly. Other quick favourites: Shawn Cronin and Shawn Cronin scoring and hamburgers being .44 cents at Mcdonalds as a result; Dancing Gabe; Mike Smiths' hair and obsession with obscure Russian players, and how much my Dad hated the Dave Babych for Ray Neufeld trade. He'll still get mad if I bring it up. I could go on, but it's becoming more a blog than a comment. I live in Vancouver now, and I hate the Canucks; hate their guts, each and every one of them. I'm so glad they're back. (Much love to the Flames for filling the void for all these years. we'll always be on good terms, always) So, as much as I love the memories, I'm looking forward to all the new ones; new ones like getting beer thrown at me after cheering way too loud when the Jets score an OT winning goal here at Rogers Arena.

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#4 RexLibris
September 03 2011, 03:53PM
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As an Oilers fan I wouldn't say that I have many Favourite Jets memories that would sit well with Jets fans, so how about this one: I don't remember much of the details except that it was '90 or maybe '91 and the Oilers were up 6-1 going into the third period. In other words this was a great game for an Oilers fan. We lost 7-6 and it was at that point that I realized that ANYTHING can happen in hockey. Never leave a game early (unless it's Minnesota versus Calgary) because you never know.

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