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Thoughts from the Jets Hall of Fame Luncheon

The festivities in Winnipeg have now been wrapped up with the Jets Hall of Fame Luncheon happening yesterday. I had the privilege to attend the event which was in honour of Thomas Steen and Randy Carlyle as they got inducted into the Jets Hall of Fame. With the ceremony on the ice happening against the New York Rangers on Tuesday, things wrapped up with a formal lunch on Wednesday with great interviews and discussions with the newly inducted members.

The event began with an address from Mark Chipman, chairman of True North Sports & Entertainment. He discussed what the event meant to the Jets and to Winnipeg and about the long history of hockey in the city.

Although the entire speech was excellent, one important piece of news was shared. Chipman began by discussing Paul Maurice and how he’s been climbing the ranks of all-time wins. He then proceeded to say that Maurice will get the chance to keep chasing the records as a member of the Winnipeg Jets as he’s recently been signed to a new contract. Maurice’s expiring contract was definitely a discussion point for many fans this season, but the organization believes that Maurice is the best fit for the job.

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Winnipeg Jets sign head coach Paul Maurice to contract extension

Although details weren’t known at the time, it has now been determined that the new contract will extend for another three years.

With that big news out of the way, the rest of the festivities were focused on the careers of Thomas Steen and Randy Carlyle. Both players were interviewed on stage and spoke about what Winnipeg meant to them and how they enjoyed their days playing and in Carlyle’s case, coaching, in Winnipeg. After that, a number of former teammates were brought on stage to share a favourite memory of the Hall of Fame inductees. Thomas was repeatedly mentioned as an under-rated forward who didn’t speak often, but rather led by the way he played.

Carlyle on the other hand was labelled as ‘crusty’ by virtually all of his teammates. His gruff ways back then made for some great stories as teammates shared some great moments from back in the 80’s.

The entire event was very well done with True North doing an excellent job ensuring all the details were in place. As I mentioned above, I was lucky enough to go the event, and there were two themes that I noticed throughout the conversations.

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Winnipeg Is Home

One item repeatedly mentioned was the city itself. While people could have talked about the fans or the organization, the players really focused on Winnipeg and what a great city it is. Carlyle mentioned that it reminded him of his hometown of Sudbury and how excited he was to be able to go fishing on the river in winter, or take snowmobile trips with his teammates. Steen on the other hand said that he never wanted to leave Winnipeg after getting there. He’s made Winnipeg his home, even becoming a city councillor for a term. They felt so welcomed by the city and had nothing but great things to say about Winnipeg.

While it might seem obvious to mention how great the city is, they very easily could have discussed the actual on-ice performance or other aspects of being in the NHL. Instead, they chose to extol the city itself for being such a welcoming community.

The Jets Are Family

When the former teammates spoke about Steen and Carlyle, one of the words that repeatedly came up was ‘family’. The sense that the team was a family. They talked about the things they did back then and the way that each teammate pitched in to help each other not just on the ice, but off the ice as well. The idea that each player was ‘all in’ to do whatever it took for the good of the organization. Carlyle and Steen treated the others as family and it gave everyone a sense of belonging in the dressing room.

True North has always been about family values, trust, and loyalty. We see that through the extension of Paul Maurice. Maurice has given lots to the city and the organization and in turn, True North decided to renew his contract. Cheveldayoff has made Winnipeg his home by being the only General Manager is Jets 2.0 history. The organization thrives off loyalty and trust and will reward those who reciprocate those values.

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So often we have seen the organization trust the people they hire. It’s the idea that the right personality is just as important as the other qualifications. For better or for worse, True North has always been like this. That’s where they get their sense of family. You could argue that might be their demise, but that sense of trust and loyalty isn’t going away any time soon.

The luncheon event ended with an autograph session featuring Steen, Carlyle, Hull, and Nilsson. With the Jets Hall of Fame increasing by another two members this year, it leaves plenty of fans wondering who the next round of inductees will be.

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