The last time the IceCaps were playing in front of their fans on home ice, they were being swept from the Eastern Conference Final by the Norfolk Admirals. Watching the minutes of the third period tick away, with the visitors up 4-0, one would assume the crowd would start drifting out as soon as the 50-50 winner was announced. Instead, something amazing happened. At the four minute mark, the entire crowd came to their feet and gave the home team an ovation that lasted long after the final whistle. This was a crowd thanking an organization that in only one season, had brought championship-level hockey to a city dying for a someone to cheer for.
This past Sunday the St. John's IceCaps dropped the puck in front of their home crowd for the first time. As a preseason exhibition loss played in front of a crowd at about 30 percent capacity, it was a rather anti-climactic event. That's not to say the 5-2 game was a waste, as it gave the coaching staff a valuable look into the skill levels of their training camp roster.
Paul Postma: A friend asked me if defenceman Paul Postma was going to stick with the Jets at the start of the season. Given that Postma is currently tied for the Jets-preseason scoring lead with two goals and three assists, the two-way d-man is making quite a case for himself. The Red Deer-native has shown the ability to set up his team's attack, as well as hold down the point on the power play.
Beyond the fact that True North has brought pro hockey back to Newfoundland (thereby allowing me to cover it), I give credit to the organization for this move. True North had the option of continuing operations of the established Manitoba Moose in Winnipeg, even after they acquired the Thrashers franchise. This wouldn't be an unprecedented move. For example, the Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate plays in the same city as the big club, as did the Philidelphia Flyers farm-team until a few seasons ago 2009. Yet after attending a few Toronto Marlies games with sparse attendance, I can see why True North opted to move the team in order avoid cutting into their own market.
1. Team Name: When True North didn't initially declare that the team would be called the Winnipeg Jets, it was obvious that they were considering using a different name. As the weeks dragged on without an announcement of the team name, it seemed more and more likely that they were going in another direction. Yet this uncertainty only fueled the immense pressure from the local fan-base for the re-institution of their departed Jets.