Hockey fans and hockey players alike are excited for the return of NHL hockey to the province of Manitoba. Fans have already shown their support for the team during a very successful season ticket drive and the buzz surrounding the new team has been deafening ever since the announcement was made back on May 31st.
Winkler native Eric Fehr says the return of the NHL is great for the province. The Washington Capitals forward grew up cheering for the Jets as a kid and was heart broken when the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix in 1996. Although his childhood dream was to play for the Jets, he is now excited to play against whatever the new Winnipeg based team will be called.
It was announced that at least for the 2011-12 season, the Winnipeg team will keep Atlanta's spot in the NHL's Eastern Conference Southeast Division with Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida and Carolina. Fehr says playing in Atlanta was tough due to the small crowds. He adds as a rule players love playing their games in Canada because of the great fan base and exciting atmosphere. He says for him, playing in Winnipeg will be even more special then playing in just any Canadian city because it will give him the opportunity to play in front of family and friends.
Fehr says having a local NHL team to cheer for goes a long way in bringing excitement to grass roots hockey players. He says with NHL hockey being only a short drive away you can start to see yourself playing there one day.
CKMW Sports Director Matt Friesen spoke with Fehr after it was announced that the NHL would be returning to Manitoba.