Eulogy: Remembering the 2014-15 Winnipeg Jets

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(Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)
(Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. We've asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The bloggers who hated them the most. Here is Jared Dobias of Battle of California, an Anaheim Ducks blogger, on the 2014-15 Winnipeg Jets. Again, this was not written by us. Also: This is a roast and you will be offended by it, so don't take it so seriously.)

By Jared Dobias/Battle of California Managing Editor & Ducks Blogger

Hello, esteemed Yahoo! readers. I’ll try to use small words to make this easier on you.

Let’s take some time to say goodbye to the 2014-15 Atlanta Thrashers Winnipeg Jets, a franchise that has yet to win a single playoff game in their storied history dating all the way back to 1999. I’m as surprised as anyone that a team backstopped by goaltending elite Ondrej Pavelec got swept out of the first round!

There’s been a lot of talk in hockey media these past few days about the Jets’ passionate fanbase, and I for one am happy that fans of southern expansion teams are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

It’s not easy drudging up enough delusion day after day to support a lackluster team and to make a building with poor acoustics sound really loud. Impressive! Of course, they’ve wasted no time channeling that passion into scapegoating Dustin Byfuglien, for no other reason than his poor play, I’m sure (isn’t that right, Evander Kane?).

Speaking of the fanbase, there was some talk early on about a shared camaraderie among the Anaheim Ducks’ and Jets’ fanbases, bonded by their mutual respect for Teemu Selanne. But let’s get one thing clear: Teemu Selanne has nothing to with today’s faux Winnipeg Jets.

Teemu Selanne does not care about Winnipeg.

Being traded to Anaheim and out of the Manitoban hellscape was, in his own words, “the best thing to ever happen” him.

Of course it was the best thing to ever happen to him! Who wouldn’t prefer Southern California to Winnipeg? I’m not even saying this as a compliment to Southern California, because even a toilet bowl is preferable to Winnipeg.

Jets
Jets

Selanne has put down roots in Anaheim, and he has never looked backwards toward Winnipeg. The actual Winnipeg Jets franchise and rightful owners of Selanne’s rookie legacy, the Arizona Coyotes, surely are much less of an embarrassment to Teemu than modern day Winnipeg. Number 8 (and historically number 13, for you Thrashers fans whose hockey history doesn’t go back that far) is in no way sentimental about your team, your city, or the Winnipeg mole-people themselves.

The real former All-Star and power-play sniper who connects these two franchises is Dany Heatley, not Selanne.

Way to go, Faux Jets, Dany Heatley is your legacy.

Enough about proud Southern-Californian Teemu Selanne, let’s talk about Winnipeggers. I know it’s poor form to take potshots at the fans as opposed to the team, but as the third star of Wednesday night’s game, I figure you’re all fair game now considering you’re apparently a part of the team (and perhaps management can trade all of you idiots for some actual on-ice talent).

“Fans, thank you for overpaying to show up to a game in a city with nothing else at all going on, ever… We appreciate your ability to get drunk and be loud. As a token of our appreciation, please accept this third star.”

Congratulations on your participation trophy, Jets fans, but that’s not really how this works. In fact, every person who has attended a Ducks game over the past 22 years is a considerably better fan than any of you are, simply because Anaheim is a non-hockey market with actual competing entertainment options.

Look at it this way: If a dude is trapped on a deserted island with nothing but moss slime and dirt to eat, you wouldn’t congratulate him on his healthy vegetarian diet. You would rightly pity him. This also holds true for the fool who hasn’t found a way out of Winnipeg yet who decides to watch a Jets game, their only source of temporary escape from a soul-crushing existence (how sad it is, then, that the team also decides to crush their weathered souls with its lousy performance).

But let’s get back on track… Aside from not knowing the game well enough to tell the difference between former league MVP Corey Perry and pop star Katy Perry, and despite their lack of other entertainment options as mentioned above, it appears that Winnipeggers are not really big fans of the sport, anyway.

According to ESPN, the team is ranked 27th in attendance this season, which is more than just a little embarrassing in a Canadian market:

ESPN
ESPN

Oh, I know what you're going to say: "They filled the building to capacity." Well a REAL hockey city would have found ways to add more seats, like maybe setting up lawn chairs that would otherwise never serve a purpose in Winnipeg in the aisles ...

Even Anaheim, a city with about half the population of Winnipeg, without a long history of or national identity built on hockey culture, manages to get more folks watching live hockey. And as I’ve pointed out, Anaheim hockey actually has a much richer entertainment scene in the area to compete with than the frozen tundra-misery of Winnipeg. There’s absolutely nothing to do in Winnipeg (they’re certainly not visiting any parks), and yet they can’t show up for a hockey game or two?

This is not a new phenomenon in Winnipeg. In fact, that’s why the Real Jets left town in the first place for greener pastures in Arizona. In Phoenix, the Real Jets found a much more appreciative fanbase than Winnipeg ever provided (of course, until mismanagement ran the poor Coyotes right into the ground…)

Jets
Jets

At any rate, the honeymoon period with this Faux Jets team will surely wear off soon, and attendance will decline even further. But in the meantime, before this franchise is moved to Las Vegas or granted to Florida as their third team, maybe the locals should at least pretend they care.

You know something Winnipeggers do care about? 7-Eleven Slurpees. The gluttonous, diabetic pig-people of Winnipeg average 188,833 Slurpee sells per month (compared to 179,700 for the rest of Canada combined). Obviously, this is a very smart thing to do in a town that hasn’t seen sunlight in over a decade.

If you’re looking to get a glimpse of just how insufferable Winnipeggers are as a fanbase however, consider this – In the waning days of the series, almost the entire hockey world began to rally behind the Ducks, hoping for a Jets elimination (you’re welcome hockey world, but you can go back to hating us now).

Convincing outside fanbases to cheer for a team with both Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry on the roster seems an almost insurmountable task. That is, until you expose those other folks to the entitled, petulant children who call the Jets their own.  It was pretty cute how they thought stealing the Arizona Coyotes’ “Whiteout” tradition might win them a playoff series, though.

Now, fans of the Faux Jets, regardless of how underserving your town and your team were of any true success, I know this elimination is heartbreaking. But as long as you stick together, you’ll be alright. Focus on the positives, like those three Avco World Trophy championships (that’s a little thing that the Real Jets brought to your town back in the day; I don’t expect fans of a southern expansion team to know this though).

And sure, Teemu Selanne wants nothing to do you with all of you, but what about goaltending great and best color-analyst in the business Brian Hayward?

Oh, right. He left you for Anaheim as well.

Ouch.

To bring this all to a conclusion, I would like to congratulate the Fake Jets on getting a taste of playoff hockey, the real game, and hope to see you back in the mix when you’re actually ready to try and compete in a more serious manner, in a few more years after the franchise has been moved to a more deserving Sun Belt market.

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