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Atlanta are on board. Bud
02-13-2019, 12:18 PM
ارسال: #1
Atlanta are on board. Bud
SEATTLE (AP) — John Barr understood it was likely a foregone conclusion and yet as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke nearly 3 Adidas Mikkel Boedker Jersey ,000 miles away, he found himself getting emotional watching the televisions in the packed bar.Barr was among fans watching Tuesday morning as Seattle was awarded an NHL expansion franchise following a unanimous vote by the Board of Governors in Sea Island, Georgia, ending a lengthy dance between the league and the city that will finally see professional hockey return to the city. Seattle was the first U.S. city to win the Stanley Cup back in 1917. More than 100 years later, they’ll have that chance again.“I was always optimistic but I didn’t think it was ever a guarantee. Might have got a little watery eyed there,” said Barr, who has headed up the NHLtoSeattle.com website and been a voice for hockey fans in Seattle. “It’s been a long haul and there’s been some ups and downs but I think the wait is worth it.”The Seattle ownership group organized the watch party as a central gathering spot to celebrate the announcement and hand out swag a short distance from the Seattle Center, where the yet-to-be named team will begin play in a reconstructed Seattle Center Arena in 2021.“Is there a better hockey morning than this morning in Seattle?” said Mayor Jenny Durkan, who took a little of the suspense out of Bettman’s announcement by revealing the outcome of the vote about 10 minutes early. “This is just a great thing for Seattle and I’m so honored to be part of it.”Dave Tippett, an adviser for the ownership group who had a front row seat for all the behind the scenes work that went into the pitch to the NHL, joined the fans in Seattle while his bosses were in Georgia.“It’s been coming a long time. The turning point for me, and this was before I was involved, was watching the season tickets go on sale and in 10 minutes sold 12,000 tickets,” Tippett said. “We knew there was an unbelievable following here so it’s been fun to get to know people here and get to experience some of the excitement of bringing a team here.”For now, the NHL will serve to satisfy Seattle’s winter sports itch that’s existed since the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008. There’s also hope that the rebuilt arena and the foundation being laid by the NHL’s 32nd franchise will help bring the NBA back.If there was a tinge of disappointment Adidas James Van Riemsdyk Jersey , it came with the decision that the team won’t start until the 2021-22 season.The initial was hope for a 2020 start, but arena renovations may not be done in time. As it stands, team President Tod Leiweke said the hope is the building will open in the first quarter of 2021. The first team to call the facility home will likely be the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, before the NHL team begins in the fall.“I’ve been at this eight years so it’s going to be another two years for 2020, another one for 2021, I can do it,” Barr said. “They have all the information. I think it’s the right call. We want to launch this right.” Ed Olczyk takes one look at the white-out-wearing crowds of Jets fans packing Winnipeg’s arena and surrounding streets and is reassured about what he always knew of the Canadian prairie city, even during its bleakest days.Winnipeg was a hockey-mad town deserving of an NHL team some 22 years ago, when Olczyk played in what became the franchise’s final game before relocating to Arizona. Very little has changed with ”Jets 2.0,” launched when the Thrashers left Atlanta for the Manitoba capital in 2011.”It made me nauseous to know what was going to happen,” the NHLer-turned-broadcaster said, recalling the uncertainty after the Jets were eliminated following a 4-1 loss to Detroit in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series on April 26, 1996. Jets players and fans lingered long after the final horn sounded in the former Winnipeg Arena, where the oversized portrait of Queen Elizabeth II hung prominently from the rafters.”But I always knew that Winnipeg was an NHL city even though they didn’t have a team there,” Olczyk added. ”It’s just incredible to see. The white outs bring back a lot of memories. And I couldn’t be happier.”The NHL is, indeed Adidas Christian Folin Jersey , back in ”The `Peg.” And the Jets are better than ever in preparing for Game 7 of their second-round playoff series at Nashville on Thursday night.No matter the outcome, the Jets are already enjoying the deepest playoff run of any Winnipeg-based NHL team. This marks just the third time Winnipeg has advanced to the second round in 13 postseason appearances. The previous two times, the Jets were swept in four games by Edmonton in both 1985 and `87.As for the current franchise’s 18-year history, the team was swept in its two previous playoff appearances before opening this postseason with its first victory, a 3-2 decision over Minnesota.The only real hockey success Winnipeg enjoyed was when the Jets won three Avco Cups as members of the defunct World Hockey Association before joining the NHL after the league folded in 1979.Suddenly, these Jets have captured the imaginations of all Manitobans, and many Canadians as well. They stand as nation’s last team with a shot to end Canada’s Stanley Cup drought dating to 1993, when Montreal won the title.The Jets are wowed by their fans’ support.”I don’t know if they can yell any louder,” coach Paul Maurice said.Even Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took notice from Denmark, where he’s representing Canada at the world championships.”It looks like a crazy atmosphere,” Nugent-Hopkins said. ”Even during the regular season it’s pretty fun and loud and intense. So I can only imagine that right now in the playoffs.”The white out in Winnipeg first became a playoff staple in 1987, and has reached new levels this spring, with estimated crowds of 20,000 gathering to watch games outside the arena.”I’ve never experienced this level of excitement for our team or confidence in our city,” Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said. ”My 10-year-old son is sleeping with his hockey stick.”The excitement is evident in Bowman’s Twitter account, which features the mayor wearing a Jets jersey Adidas Erik Karlsson Jersey , and pictures and videos of fans in makeup, putting on makeup and dancing in the streets.This is as far removed as anyone expected after the Jets left in 1996 at a time when the Winnipeg’s economy and population base were also dropping.”It was a kick in the gut,” Bowman said. ”It was demoralizing and a lot of people were questioning the city’s future because we were losing people to other cities.”The Jets’ on-ice success mirrors the city’s rebound. With a population of 750,000, Winnipeg now ranks as Canada’s seventh-largest city and features one of the nation’s fastest growing economies.”I think that’s one of the really nice parts about this playoff run. It’s allowing Winnipeggers to take stock in where we were in the `90s and compare it to where we are now,” Bowman said. ”People are feeling good about the city, and their confidence and swagger is growing.”Despite the city’s size and 145-year history, Winnipeg is often overlooked in the national media because of how far it’s removed from major centers such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.To some, Winnipeg is best known for its black flies and mosquitoes in the spring and summer, and frigid winters, made notable in the Neil Young and Randy Bachman song, ”Prairie Town,” which includes the lyric ”Portage and Main, 50 below,” in reference to the city’s main intersection.Perhaps the Jets’ success can begin changing perceptions.”It’s an opportunity for us to show North Americans what’s going on in Winnipeg Adidas Adam Cracknell Jersey ,” Bowman said.Even former Thrashers fans in Atlanta are on board. Bud Ellis overcame the frustration of losing the Thrashers by continuing to root for the Jets in Winnipeg. He couldn’t begrudge Jets fans in knowing they once lost their team.”I am so happy for the people there, the way they embrace that team,” Ellis said. ”In a way, they’ve kind of taken care of my team and they’ve let me stay along for the ride and welcomed me in.”He’s even getting some nods of approval in Atlanta for wearing a combination of Thrashers and Jets gear.”If you’re tied to Atlanta and you somehow find some success, people will at least start paying attention,” Ellis said. ”Even if they’re 1,850 miles away.”—AP Sports Writers Charles Odum in Atlanta, Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tenn., and Associated Press writer Karel Janicek in Herning, Denmark, contributed to this report.—
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