Two San Jose Sharks fans who came to Winnipeg to watch their team play the Jets have been overwhelmed by the friendly hospitality being offered by Jets fans.
Bryan Lynch and Mike Peterson say Winnipeggers have offered them warm winter clothes, taken them out for dinner and drinks, and even given them free centre ice tickets to Thursday's game at the MTS Centre.
To top it off, they saw their favourite team, the Sharks, defeat the hometown Jets 2-0.
"It feels like winning the hockey lottery. There's no other way to explain it," Lynch told CBC News before the game.
"We happened to meet up with a handful of nice fans who have taken care of everything for us: given us tickets, given us a ride from the airport … we got to see the Sharks last [Wednesday] night."
Peterson and Lynch, two California cousins who are both die-hard Sharks fans, wanted to see their favourite team at a road game. The cousins were deciding between Chicago and Winnipeg, but chose the Manitoba capital because they wanted to catch the Jets' inaugural season.
But before they booked their flights north, Lynch posted a message on an online hockey forum, asking what they should do in the city.
"The first response was, 'You're coming to Winnipeg from California in the middle of winter?' It's a big surprise for people, apparently," he said with a chuckle.
"And then from there on … it's just reply after reply after reply of just warm wishes and offers of coats and tuques and rides and offers for beer."
Lynch said he and his cousin had purchased tickets online in the "nosebleed" section for Thursday night's game, but a Winnipeg businessman insisted that they take his centre ice tickets for free. He even sent the tickets to them by overnight courier.
In all, hundreds of people replied to Lynch's query, "just doing anything they can to make our trip nice," he said.
"We're just normal people. We feel like celebrities."