Winnipeg Jets snag groundbreaking regional TV deal with TSN

Most of these celebrating fans did not have a shot at season tickets. Thanks to True North and TSN? They get to watch and listen to a lot of Jets game this season. Thanks to John Kendle (Winnipeg Free Press) and Scott Brown (Jets Media) for help in putting together the story.(David Lipnowski/AP)

Beyak, Munz become “Voice of the Jets”

By Terrance Gavan – THW Correspondent

When 15,000 season tickets for the Winnipeg Jets sold out in 17 seconds, umm, 17 minutes, umm; in the cold-blooded blink of a crocodile’s eye; many Jets faithful – and oh, there were many – were, hmm, how shall we say? Irritated. Ticked. Desperately dewy-eyed and downright distressed.

Remember folks. These are the same people who felt sheer rage when their beloved Jets packed up for the sand dunes. (Yes Phoenix!) So, there was an air of expectation rife among many Jets fanatics that with 15,000 season tickets up for grabs, everyone would get a shot at a package.

Didn’t happen. And some still don’t want to talk about that 17 minutes of sheer nail-biting hell today.

They’re in mourning.

John Ehinger, a Beausejour, MB teacher, still feels the sting of missing out on a season ticket package. He and two other buddies had a plan. Three stations set up. Two in the Peg and one in Beausejour. Surely one of them would get through. Just 17 minutes later it was over. Like a Boxing Day Future Shop apocalyptic cluster-duck-dive and dash.

Ehinger has been a Jets fans since, well, since the Jets Hot Line of Bobby Hull, Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg still had hair.

Ehinger’s vintage WHA card collection is carefully closeted in a cloistered set of photo albums; and the binders are wrapped in cellophane in a temperature controlled lockup in his basement. It’s worth… a lot. John Ehinger is a fan’s fan.

He’s currently number fifty-something on the Jets season ticket waiting list.

“I’ll probably get a chance at season tickets by the time I’m 86 or so,” says the 46 year old Ehinger. “I still can’t believe they went that quick, and we were right there too. We did everything right. But 17 minutes? That’s unbelievable.”

Ehinger has some other thoughts on the situation but they would never pass the THW censors. Suffice to say that Ehinger is not alone with his spilled milk.

And the Winnipeg Jets, who found themselves all at once with an uplifting story? Had also signed on to an almost unprecedented public relations nightmare. How do you rejoice about the marvelous support of this city’s wonderful fans, without incurring the ire of all those season ticket hopefuls who felt cheated by the process?

Some succor had to be found. You can bet that True North started looking for a television deal as soon as those tickets flew out the door.

Well, the rabbit’s out of the hat inWinnipeg. True North and the Winnipeg Jets scored a lovely regional deal that should offer solace and sweet sugar for all those fans who just want to be part of the magic this season.

TSN unveiled a decade long sports and entertainment package tailor made for the Winnipeg Jets fan base.

“True North Sports & Entertainment, in conjunction with Bell Media, are pleased to announce today they have entered into a 10-year agreement awarding the regional television broadcast rights for the Winnipeg Jets to TSN, and the radio broadcast rights for the hockey club to Sports Radio 1290,” TSN reported via tsn.ca.

“As part of the agreement,TSNwill broadcast more than 60 regional regular season and pre-season games each season to fans in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and parts of Northwestern Ontario on the new specialty channel “TSNJets” – a part-time television service dedicated to Jets games and launching September 20.”

In addition to the regional broadcasts,TSN will also broadcast five Jets games acrossCanadaas part of the network’s national broadcast agreement with theNHL. That in addition to a pretty nice agreement with Hockey Night in Canada and the CBC.

“True North Sports & Entertainment and the Winnipeg Jets are ecstatic to have entered into this agreement with Bell Media. It is a landmark agreement for broadcasting and professional hockey inWinnipeg,” said Jim Ludlow, President & CEO, True North Sports & Entertainment. “The 10-year term demonstratesTSN’s long-term commitment toWinnipegand the Winnipeg Jets. We are also excited about the prospects for the future of Sports Radio 1290 and we are confident they will carry forward what has been a tradition of outstanding radio coverage of hockey here inWinnipeg.”

Phil King, President, CTV Programming and Sports said, “The return of the Winnipeg Jets has been the biggest story in hockey inCanadathis year. Like all Canadian hockey fans we are thrilled to see theNHLreturn toWinnipegand we are even more delighted to partner with True North Sports & Entertainment to bring game action to Jets fans.”

TSN added that they will complement their broadcasts by producing pre-and-post-game shows. Sports Radio 1290 will bookend its broadcasts with more than five hours of before and after coverage.

And the coup? A big steal from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Veteran hockey broadcaster Dennis Beyak will be the primary voice of the Winnipeg Jets, calling all regular season games. Belak, a son of Manitoba, will call 56 games for TSN Jets along with 26 games for Sports Radio 1290.

“Beyak spent the past 16 years as an NHL broadcaster, most recently working as a play-by-play commentator for the Toronto Maple Leafs on AM 640,” tsn.ca reports.

“In addition to Beyak, popular former Manitoba Moose broadcaster Brian Munz will call 56 Jets games for Sports Radio 1290,” TSN reports. Munz is a fixture in Manitoba. Great choice and due DAP for the Munz-man.

Prior to being the voice of the Moose, the Regina product worked extensively in sports broadcasting on the Edmonton Oilers radio broadcasts. Colour analyst roles for the TSNJets broadcasts will be shared between former NHLplayers Brian Engblom and Mike Johnson.”

Former NHL defenceman Shane Hnidy – a Stanley Cup winner with the 2010-11 Boston Bruins – also joins Sports Radio 1290 as a color analyst for all Jets games this season.

Sports Radio 1290 will confirm its other hockey analysts and Jets Insiders in the coming weeks.

gav@pardontheeruption.com and twitter.com/terrancegavan

 

Terrance Gavan

Terrance Gavan

Sens reporter Terrance Gavan was born in Ottawa. Attended Carleton University, graduated from University of Manitoba. Sports Editor for The Manitoban; Sports Information Director at the U of M. History: Interlake Publishing, CP, UPI, Winnipeg Sun, Assignments:CBC Radio/TSN. Managing Editor/Kanata Kourier/Standard 92-93. Quebecor; Currently: Sports and Entertainment Editor The Highlander, Haliburton, ON. Award winning photographer and poet. Lives by a lake with his dog Billie Jean. Happy. Happy.

4 Comments

  1. Get digital Box
    Subscribe only to TSN Jets.
    Is it possible?

    A Haiku.

    • Hi Reed
      I love the poetic reference
      and yes that’s a nice haiku ,… hah!

      I have an inkling that they’ll include the Jets in some kinda’ package…
      I’m currently wrangling with bell to see if I can get the Sens and the Jets .. but they have the jets in the wrong division .. of course they do… Imagine.. jets in same div with calgary, edmondton and?? Phoenix
      they’ll do the Atlanta Winnipeg shuffle next year when hopefully we’ll have the Quebec Islanders – Aces – Nordiques in the mix…

      They once had a team in Atlanta
      whose tickets sold like rotten bananas
      now they’ve moved to the Peg
      popped in a division of dregs
      Oh NHL … let’s fix this awful dilemma
      cheers
      gav
      phone your cable company and beg!
      That’s what I’m doin

      cheers
      Gav
      *PS sorry about the delay

  2. Do we have to subscribe to a special package to get TSN Jets or does it come with TSN?

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