Saturday, May 21, 2011

Are They Really Returning?

T-shirt from the campaign to bring an NHL team back to Winnipeg from about 10 years ago.

Yes! All indications point to a return to the NHL for Winnipeg after much publicized reports that the deal is done and will be announced on Tuesday. Before we get carried away and mortgage the house to buy seasons tickets, we need to await the official word from the league. This spring's playoff has been overshadowed (at least in Winnipeg) with the possible relocation of first, the Phoenix Coyotes, who may only have one more year left in their present location, then the talk of Atlanta selling it's team. I really do feel bad for the hockey fans in Atlanta and I'm sure there are actually thousands that are being treated with no respect from the organization, but the reality is the league's pip dream that the deep south US will embrace the game has backfired in the NHL's face.

I remember the rally to keep the Jets in Winnipeg and how many thousands of people came out offer up their support. It was so sad, images of kids bringing their piggy banks and fans pledging cash all for nothing. Anyone know what happened to that money? Times have changed since 1996, we have a new-ish downtown arena, the dollar is above par, the league has a salary cap and supposedly the economy is better in Winnipeg. Can we support another NHL team? I think in the short time, yes! There will be that honeymoon period during the first few years when I undoubtedly think the fan support will be good, but what happens if the team has losing seasons (beyond the first 3 years) and we can't afford to keep the players that are rising stars and will demand significant salary raises? The league has so many dead dog teams that I wouldn't pay top dollar to see, but if we want to keep our team, the building needs to be close to capacity every night. When I had season's tickets in the early/mid 80's (when I was in high school), there were some games that were a waste of time and boring and I must admit the Moose were just as or more entertaining that a majority of the Jets games I suffered though. The Moose had some major crowds in their first couple years at the MTS Centre, but attendance has dropped even though the team has been competitive. This city has many fair weather fans that are known to ride the bandwagon and then jump off when times are tough, the Bombers are a perfect example.

Is this the real deal? I've been skeptical all these years whenever there are rumours the NHL will return, so I have been proceeding with caution and not getting my hopes too high. This is definitely the closest we have come since the team left and according to many reliable sources the deal is all but done and that there are only a few loose ends before making their official announcement. I have to admit I'm excited, I've always felt Winnipeg lost some degree of cred when we lost our team and though the Moose have been very entertaining, competitive and affordable, nothing beats the caliber of the NHL. Whenever I travel to another city that has a NHL team, I make every effort I can to see a game. In the last few weeks I have had some mixed feelings because I know I won't be able to afford to go to many games. With the Moose, I have a mini-pack which entitles me to about 11 games a year (including the home opener), but with the higher level of play and higher salaries of the NHL, I'll be lucky to go to 2 or 3 games a year and instead of affordable entertainment, tickets to a NHL game will be a luxury item. My seats are currently the least expensive seats in the lower bowl, but with the NHL the whole lower bowl will be filled with season's tickets and at least 4 times the cost per game. I'm holding out hope my friends or family will offer to share games and possibly pony up for season's, but that's probably a long shot. I feel I'll be left out in the cold if we get the NHL with less hockey to watch and for purely selfish reasons I'm considering holding some kind of fundraiser for myself so I can purchase tickets...yes, that would be extremely selfish!

Hope the news is good on Tuesday! See you at Portage and Main!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Don't Forget To Vote!!

I'm not telling you who to vote for, this is just photo of the snow from yesterday.

I don't care who you vote for (actually I do, but don't let me influence you), but it's your democratic duty and right to voice your opinion through your vote. Forget the lame excuses like, "I'm too busy" or "I have to work"...Employees who are Canadian citizens and at least 18 years old must be allowed three consecutive hours in which to vote on election day. If an employee's hours of work do not allow three consecutive hours in which the polls are open, then the employer must allow the time.

It should be an interesting election night, will the Conservatives get their majority? Will the NDP overtake the Liberals or even the Conservatives? Will someone "break the law" and twitter the results from Eastern Canada? Will CBC show the hockey game instead of the election results? The only answer I know for sure right now is...No, CBC will not be showing the Flyers vs Bruins game, that will be on TSN.

In my area, there is going to be a close race between incumbent, Anita Neville of the Liberals and Conservative candidate Joyce Bateman. The Conservatives threw the first jab in this riding, but it was from a candidate in the St. Boniface riding, Shelly Glover. If you recall earlier in the campaign before the Con's announced Bateman as a candidate, Glover suggested that Neville was too old and that her time as a MP had expired. I think Glover should worry about her own riding instead of sticking her nose into another, because she is far from safe against the Liberal's, Raymond Simard.

Back to my area, I can't stand the thought of the area going Conservative, though it does include Tuxedo and Fort Garry which is often quite conservative. Joyce Bateman presently is one of my school trustee's and the times I've seen and heard her talk, I've been quite turned off. Maybe it's her condescending speaking voice or her phony "concerned" politician persona, but my first, second and third impressions is I don't like her. She has been worked with the Liberal's in the past and I heard she was itching to replace Neville as the South-Centre Liberal candidate, but when Neville decided to run again, Bateman jumps to the Conservatives. She claims she has been disillusioned with the Liberals and hasn't been a member for a while, so if she's so concerned with her "values", I guess if she wants the best chance for employment, it's logical to run for a party that may possibly form a majority government. She seems to try to distance herself from Harper, as her election pamphlet doesn't even mention their great leader. Instead she includes a photo of her with U of W President, Lloyd Axworthy...hmmm...does this mean Axworthy is a Conservative supporter? Did he approve this? I think if she truly has morals and doesn't agree or appear to want to be associated with Harper, then she should have run as an independent...but they hardly ever win.

Go out and VOTE!!!! Polls close at 8:30 pm.