Jets fans are saving you a seat on their playoff bandwagon
Young, fun and not the Leafs, Jets have it all for hockey fans looking for a new team, Winnipeggers say
Ottawa Senators fans, this is your boarding call.
Fans of the high-flying Winnipeg Jets are kindly saving you a seat aboard their bandwagon for what they're hoping is a long ride to the Stanley Cup final.
"This is a really easy team to cheer for," said Brian Platt, a Winnipegger living in Ottawa who flew back home and scored tickets to the Jets' first game in their first-round series against Minnesota Wednesday.
"They're young, they're fast, they're exciting to watch. They play a really fun style of hockey," Platt enthused.
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It doesn't hurt that the only other Canadian option in the playoffs is the Toronto Maple Leafs, object of scorn among many in the capital.
While Leafs Nation is indeed legion, there's just something about the prairie city's wild enthusiasm for its team — an adulation that apparently never waned despite a 15-year break from NHL hockey — makes the Jets easy to root for.
"It was devastating," said Jets fan Tim Radcliffe of the team's hiatus. "Winnipeggers took it really hard. What made that hardship all the more poignant was all the steps the community took before [they left in] 1996, trying to save the team.
"The Jets were ripped from the city and now they're returned. I think it's a really heartwarming story and all the more reason that Canadian fans should jump on the bandwagon," Radcliffe told Ottawa Morning.
They hit a bit of turbulence in Game 3 Sunday with a 6-2 loss on the road.
Fans still like their team's chances, especially given their second-overall regular season finish.
"This year, for the first time, they're one of the best teams in the NHL. Not only are they in the playoffs and doing well and fun to watch, they have a real chance to win," Platt said. "It's a really easy bandwagon to get on."
Game 4 is Tuesday night.
With files from CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning