Jets superfan abroad dishes tough love to hometown fans
Owner of popular Winnipeg Jets Twitter account pans fair-weather fans
Jeff Hamilton CBC News
Posted: Feb 28, 2013 1:53 PM CST
Last Updated: Feb 28, 2013 4:30 PM CST
Winnipeg Jets super-fan, Constantine Gamvrelis, is tired of hearing all the negativity surrounding his hometown team and is quick to offer some pretty harsh words for anyone willing to throw in the towel this season.
“I hope they break their legs jumping off the bandwagon,” said Gamvrelis, 28, in a phone interview from his Harlem apartment in New York. “Every city has fair-weather fans, and I’m really embarrassed to see that.”
And you might want to keep any negative comments about Jets forward Evander Kane to yourself: “He didn’t steal anyone’s puppies. He doesn’t beat on women. He’s not swearing in the media. Instead, he reads to kids and is active in the community and does a lot more in the city than he gets credit for.”
For those who don’t know Gamvrelis, he’s the man behind the Twitter handle jetsxoxo. For those that do, well, answers like these aren’t all that surprising.
It’s this kind of outspoken and witty rapport over twitter that’s landed Gamvrelis airtime on almost every radio and TV station in the city.
“I don’t do it for the attention,” he said. “No one in New York knows or cares about who I am. I just think a lot of fans connect with me because I’ve gotten to be in positions they would have liked to.”
Gamvrelis got his claim to fame in December after he snuck in to NHL Labour negotiations in New York, pretending to be part of the media.
Once in the doors, he began to tweet about anything and everything he saw: from the food to a conversation he had with Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey in the bathroom. It didn’t take long for his antics to go viral. His twitter following nearly doubled to 1500 followers.
“I’m a Jets fanatic and that’s who I relate to and that’s who I tweet for and behalf of.”
His latest stunt: adopting a bobble-head doll of Jets captain Andrew Ladd, tweeting photos of the figurine in front of popular landmarks throughout New York City.
Gamvrelis was born and raised in Winnipeg before taking a job in the communications sector with the United Nations. He’s an educated guy with two diplomas (statistics and greenhouse crop management) and a degree in chemistry from the University of Manitoba.
“I’m as much of a hockey fan as I am a supporter of Winnipeg and the community even from afar,” said Gamvrelis. “I’m never going to rag on them, and I’m not going to turn my back on any of the players.”
But Gamvrelis admits he too has been guilty of being a fair-weather fan. A momentary lapse in judgment result in an incident with Jets forward Blake Wheeler early into the Jets first season in Winnipeg.
Unhappy with Wheeler’s play, Gamvrelis took to twitter and told the team’s first-liner he was overrated and overpaid. He was shocked when he got a response from number 26, suggesting he unfollow him.
“It was a wakeup call for me,” said Gamvrelis. “I said to myself, ‘You either are or aren’t going to get behind this team.’ I was super embarrassed that I called him out, and I ate my words.”
Since then, Gamvrelis has been anything but fair-weather, often rubbing shoulders with members of the Jets organization whenever the possibility arises.
His antics and fan superstardom have even made him a recognizable face around the Jets locker room. He has a collection of pictures with players and members of the front office he says he'll keep forever, along with his pair of Jets season tickets.
"I'll never give them up now. They will be willed to my children," said Gamvrelis. "The money I have tied up in hockey is ridiculous, and the time I spend watching is embarrassing, but it’s been the greatest thing to participate in and experience, and I couldn’t think of a better thing to spend my money on.”
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