Winnipeg Jets name returns
Winnipeg's NHL team will be called the Winnipeg Jets.
The news, confirmed by CBC Sports earlier in the day, was officially announced by True North chairman Mark Chipman ahead of the team's first selection at the NHL entry draft on Friday night in Minnesota — seventh overall.
Executive vice-president and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff then stepped up to the podium and used the pick to take Barrie Colts centre Mark Scheifele. Scheifele, who led all Team Canada scorers at the Under-18 World Championships with six goals, recorded 22 goals and an OHL rookie-leading 53 assists in 66 games for the Colts last season.
The Kitchener, Ont. native put on a sweater bearing the black and grey colours of the NHL's logo as he stood on the stage, meaning the team has not yet officially unveiled their new jersey.
The Canadian Press reported that the team is expected to go with a logo different from the one used by the previous incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets until the franchise moved to Phoenix in 1996.
Fans were ecstatic on hearing the news of the new name.
"Best news I've heard in a long time, since we got our team back. I've been hoping for this all along, so that's great," Tim Hykaway said.
Andrew Lecker, a Jets fan from Minneapolis who used to work at the team's arena when he was growing up in Winnipeg, got his two-year-old son out of bed Friday morning, dressed him in a Jets jersey and brought him to the team's news conference.
"As I was a little boy playing hockey in the basement, one or two years old, my dad would always say ‘Go Jets go!’ and we do the same now," an emotional Lecker said as he began to tear up.
Thousands more fans flocked to the MTS Centre in Winnipeg for a party Friday night to watch the NHL draft on the arena's screens.
Speculation had swirled about the team's name since it announced plans to relocate from Atlanta to Winnipeg on May 31.
The most popular choice appeared to be Winnipeg Jets. Other rumoured options included Manitoba Jets, Manitoba Moose and Winnipeg Falcons — a nod to the 1920 Olympic champions.