The Winnipeg Jets might not be killing it in the standings,* but the return of the NHL is producing promising results, as you can see in this article by Kevin McGran.
Such a point might seem painfully obvious until you realize that there was some doubt that there wouldn’t be that big of a bump for the city since they already benefited from packed buildings via the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. (This is Canada, after all.)
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz says that there’s been a serious bump in tangible and emotional ways, even if there aren’t many official numbers yet.
“Where we have phenomenal growth is people deciding to live downtown, something we’ve always wanted,” Katz said. “That was happening before, but the Jets continue it. But from my point of view, the greatest benefit that’s hard to measure is the feeling people have being back in the NHL. Everybody is talking about it, everybody is excited.”
Jets coach Claude Noel described relocating from Atlanta to Winnipeg as a “hidden thing” that has taken a toll on some players, but believes that the adjustment period is over.
If you ask a lot of people in Winnipeg, the return of the NHL has made a far-from-hidden impact on the city. Just imagine if the franchise could upgrade the Jets from a bubble contender to a genuine playoff team, then …
* – The negativity regarding their current state seems a little excessive, though, if you ask me. The Jets began January with a four-game road swing, had four of six in Winnipeg and then went on a six-game road trip. Starting in mid-February, the Jets will play eight games in a row at home. If they flub that, then go ahead and beat up on the young team.