News came out from the Winnipeg Jets today that a press conference will be held at Portage and Main Friday afternoon. This gathering is likely to reveal the jerseys for the upcoming Heritage Classic, taking place between the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets this October. While this will be the main focus of course, this conference also provides the team a chance to name the new Winnipeg Jets captain.
Fans, join us at Portage & Main on Friday at 12pm for a very special announcement. You won’t want to miss it. #HeritageClassic
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) August 3, 2016
The Jets posted this tweet earlier this morning and immediately speculation began on the topic that would be covered. The location was immediately noticeable, as the biggest and busiest intersection in the city, and the same place where Bobby Hull signed the first $1 million contract in hockey history. Since then, the intersection has not been used often, though fans have flooded the area when big news has hit, it has never been anything official. To return to this place where many say professional hockey got its start in Winnipeg, has people buzzing about what is coming next.
It came out relatively quickly, however, what the purpose of the press conference was for. It was reported by CJOB Sports, a local radio station, that not only would the Heritage Classic Jersey be revealed, but also the Alumni roster would be announced. It was the Winnipeg Jets’ next tweet that really got this idea of a new Jets captain rolling.
New Jets Captain in Attendance?
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) August 3, 2016
Replying to their own tweet earlier in the day, the Jets announced that not only would past stars such as Dale Hawerchuk and Thomas Steen be on hand for the announcement, but also Blake Wheeler (also known as @BiggieFunke) would be there live.
Now, Winnipeg has been without a captain since Andrew Ladd was traded to Chicago just before last season’s trade deadline. Many have speculated that Wheeler should be the new Jets captain, with stories circulating just days after the trade to argue that. Wheeler is the heart and soul of the Jets and plays the style of game that both fans and the team itself identifies by. This announcement, and the attendance of Wheeler, gives the Jets a perfect opportunity to reveal this to the world.
The Jets may not be the most flashy team, not often in the news, not many enormous splashes with the media, but they have shown a flair for the dramatic. Take the announcement of the team name for instance.
Speculation had run wild for months, waiting for what the team would be called. Sure enough, out walks Kevin Cheveldayoff and Mark Chipman, and like it was no big deal, they announce the “Winnipeg Jets” pick. No big buildup; just throw it in during another event.
Sound familiar? A big event, unveiling jerseys, wouldn’t it be the perfect time to just slip in a new Jets captain. I picture everyone out on stage and they pull on the new jerseys and Blake Wheeler’s just happens to have a brand new “C” on it. The crowd would go crazy and the Jets will have made an announcement that needs to happen.
The Perfect Candidate
There is no option other than Wheeler on this team. While many have said Mark Scheifele is the future captain, he is still to young to captain the ship. After Ladd left last season, Wheeler took over, did the interviews and represented the team. He is their best player right now without a doubt. He scores, hits, is one of the most explosive skaters in the game and he’ll even drop the gloves for his teammates when it is necessary. Wheeler is the complete package and will likely see a new letter tacked onto his jersey this year, which he more than deserves.
Friday will be a big day for the Jets organization and their fans. The jerseys look to be at least some sort of throw back to the Jets of old, a team that Winnipegers still love. You still see as much of the old logo as you do the new and this jersey and game will likely pay homage to that.
What will really get fans’ attention is the announcement of the alumni team and the potential of some surprise appearances. The men that will be announced have been in the hearts of the people of Winnipeg for years and they will look forward to giving their old heroes a proper goodbye, as well as seeing them take the ice one last time in the jersey that still represents this city.
Among all this however, a new Jets captain would be the perfect cherry on top of a beautifully nostalgic day in Winnipeg.
Born and raised Winnipeg sports fan and contributor with The Hockey Writers.