Making the Jets home games in Winnipeg the right move
Desperate moments. Encounter desperate measures.
How else is it that True North is looking west and briefly considering the possibility of moving the Winnipeg Jets home games for the foreseeable future?
The idea was first discussed Thursday with season ticket holders, as public health orders in Manitoba currently limit the capacity of the Canada Life Center to just 250 fans. It was taken off the table less than 24 hours later, following a lot of negative comments from people paying the freight.
In the end, it’s the right call.
While playing in front of crowds in a city like Saskatoon would certainly have provided a temporary boost to the bank account – if the games were to ultimately be played one way or another, the income is better than nothing, no. isn’t it? – that would have been a bad business decision for a myriad of reasons.
Short-term personal gain. Likely long-term public pain.
Let’s start with the most important issue of health and safety. COVID and the fast-spreading Omicron variant don’t magically disappear once you reach the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border.
Just because our neighbors currently allow it – despite radically different rules everywhere else in Canada – does not mean that it is not the right thing to do. (From the âHow’s it going so far?â Department, Saskatoon just went critical status in its color-coded framework on Friday, following an increase in infections).
Read the room, the friends, and all the scientific and medical opinion that exists as our numbers explode, hospital beds fill up quickly, and frontline workers are taxed to the max again. Being the reason 15,000 people are gathering under one roof right now for potential super-spreader events is nothing to celebrate.
The optics would be terrible.
âCompletely disrespectful and shows no leadership or understanding for the safety of people,â that’s how one longtime Jets season ticket holder told me.
“If they move the games to avoid the restrictions, I won’t be renewing my season tickets next time.” – A staunch fan of the Winnipeg Jets.
âI think this whole situation sucks and I hate COVID with the power of a thousand suns, but that only smacks of elitism. If they move matches to avoid the restrictions, I won’t renew my subscriptions next time around. another dice said. -support hard.
While I suspect the majority of people understand that True North is a private company with a mandate to make money – and many won’t blame them for thinking outside the box here – there is something to say about subtlety and staying the course, especially in the midst of a deadly global pandemic where so many are suffering.
There’s also the worry of disconnecting with your own loyal audience, the same group that filled the downtown ice rink for a decade and still chants the name of the owner group for a decade. oh Canada.
Are we not meant to be in the same boat, even as the evidence accumulates, society is anything but? And shouldn’t True North, given their importance and platform, lead by example? To step out of the dodge to take advantage of what is essentially a loophole would be a muffled attempt to put profits before people.
And that message, it seems, was received loud and clear on the basis of the poll.
According to True North, only 30 percent of respondents supported moving some home games “if that helps the hockey club.” Forty percent had “negative sentiment” while the remaining 30 percent were neutral.
“First and foremost, the strongest theme was that Winnipeg Jets fans are concerned about the health and safety of our community, Manitoba and beyond,” the organization said in the update. Friday day to supporters.
Other themes included feelings of fatigue from the pandemic, a strong desire for fans to watch games at the Canada Life Center, and support for True North to continue to meet public health orders. ”
Translation: We see what you’re trying to do here. Do not even think about it. And so they won’t.
Look, I have sympathy for True North, who still has to pay over $ 80 million in wages under any circumstances for a team they’ve put together to be a contender. There is no guarantee that fans will return in droves even if they are given the green light to do so.
The Jets haven’t sold any of their 17 home games so far this year, and a few other responses to this week’s poll suggest the prognosis isn’t good for the other 24. Only 50 percent of fans said they would attend a game today if it’s allowed, while 28 percent said they were hesitant and 22 percent undecided.
Only 50% of fans said they would attend a game today if allowed, while 28% said they were hesitant and 22% undecided.
“These numbers improve slightly if the ability to assist at home games is reduced to 50%,” the organization said. Although no specific date has been released, True North added that “there had been mixed responses to suggestions to use medical grade masks, not to have food service and to refuse children. that were not vaccinated (as they currently do for adults). ”
In other words, they have their work cut out for them.
I apologize for any business, large or (especially) small, that is bleeding right now. We are almost two years after the start of this bloody pandemic, and the frustration is at an all time high.
But let us also remember that A) Professional hockey, as much as we love it, is not an essential service. B) The team is co-owned by Canada’s richest man, David Thomson, who has a net worth north of $ 45 billion. In that sense, they are much better equipped to weather this storm than the majority of the rest.
There are still those damn optics.
Six Jets games have already been impacted. Two home appointments at the end of December have already been postponed. Four more over the next 10 days were also cleaned up. The initial hope was to push them back until next month, when the situation might be more under control and protocols relaxed enough to reopen the doors.
But the fact that the Jets have explored a temporary move suggests they’re not optimistic about the changes anytime soon. Manitoba’s current public health orders were scheduled to expire Jan.11, but were extended on Friday until at least early February.
In addition to those six home games, Winnipeg also has three road dates to catch up. Across the league, there are now nearly 100 games that will fill the window that was to be used for the NHL’s participation in the Olympics. We’re probably now at the point that no more games can be delayed if the league wants to end its regular season by the end of April and resume a regular cycle.
The competitive integrity of this hockey season is already broken, with huge gaps in the schedule and teams sometimes being forced to play severely outnumbered with multiple players in COVID protocols.
The competitive integrity of this hockey season is already broken, with huge gaps in the schedule and teams sometimes being forced to play severely outnumbered with multiple players in COVID protocols. There’s also the fact that the rules are different for clubs, depending on which side of the border they’re on. The seven Canadian teams are hit harder than anyone.
Consider the Jets last played at home on December 19. Unless there are other occasions, the next scheduled game at the Canada Life Center is January 25. In between, they will play eight consecutive road games, spread over three different trips and five weeks. .
Yes, go ahead and put an asterisk on the 2021-22 campaign. The same way we did for the shortlist of 56 games of 2021. And the 2019-2020 bubble championship.
None of this is ideal. But running away and trying to hide from problems doesn’t make them go away.
Fortunately, True North realized this before going any further with what would have been a major mistake.