Our Season Ticket Draft wasn't quite as big of a production as the NHL Entry Draft, but it may have been equally as exciting!
As you may already know if you have read my author bio on the Front Page, I was one of the lucky people who was able to get my hands on some Winnipeg Jets season tickets. Having said that, I must disclose that I did not in fact get my own ticket. One of the more popular methods for Jets fans to get their hands on some tickets was to join up with some friends to split some tickets, thus cutting the costs down a bit as well as removing the pressure to make it to all 41 homes games. Seriously, who can make it to all 14 games in December alone?
So my wife and I joined up with 7 other friends and I wrote about our attempt to pick up The Hottest Ticket in Winnipeg back in June. We managed to obtain 5 tickets in the P6 area which is in the upper deck, but our seats are absolutely fantastic. They are in the second row, have a completely unobstructed view and we really couldn't ask for anything more. Now it was time for the draft to determine which games we wanted to go to! If you care to see which games I picked and why I picked them, keep reading after the jump.
First things first, the Home Opener. We all wanted to go and only had 5 tickets. What were we to do? It turns out that one of our members was unable to make it due to travel issues, leaving us with 8 people and 5 tickets. We are currently in the process of legally obtaining an additional three tickets and splitting the price for them 8 ways. Yay for purchasing power! We all figure that this game is an event that is not to be missed and that it would have been extremely disappointing for the people who didn't get to go had we drawn names out of a hat. Hopefully everything works out with this!
Once we figured out what to with the Home Opener, it was time to pick the rest of our games. We allowed the guy who was unable to make it to Game 1 to pick his spot in the order, and for some reason he took the 3rd slot. After that, the rest of the draft order was determined by pulling ping pong balls with our names on them out of a homemade device involving a Shop-Vac, an old Coca-Cola cooler and a garbage bag. Seriously. As luck would have it, my wife was selected 6th and I was picked 7th which made it much easier for us to select the games we wanted to attend together. What a team.
A few things to keep in mind. After removing the Home Opener but adding the three exhibition games, there were a total of 43 games. Multiply that by 5 seats and divide by 9 people, that meant that everyone was entitled to 23.88889 games. Or, everyone except the person with the 1st overall pick got 24 games, but their bonus is that they will get first crack at playoff tickets. So without any further ado, here are our first 10 selections for the draft!
1) Montreal Canadiens (Thursday, Dec. 22) - We picked this game because my father-in-law is a huge Habs fan, which obviously meant that my wife grew up cheering for them too. Since we were unsure about how the Home Opener was going to work out we wanted to make sure that we were able to see them once. Now we get to see Les Habitants twice! I wonder how small Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez will look from the upper deck...
2) Anaheim Ducks (Saturday, Dec. 17) - Two words: Teemu Selanne. Despite the fact that he hasn't confirmed his intentions to return yet, I couldn't pass up the chance to see Teemu skate again here in Winnipeg. Come on Teemu. Winnipeg deserves to see you skate (at least) one more time.
3) Toronto Maple Leafs (Saturday, Dec. 31) - I selected a single ticket to this game because it's New Years Eve and it's on a Saturday. Sure the Leafs are in town too, which may prove to be an easy two points, but I'm hoping to be there for a resurrected Tuxedo Night. If not, I'll be wearing a tuxedo t-shirt. Party time!
4) Washington Capitals (Friday, Mar. 16) - How could we pass up a chance to see Alex Ovechkin and the high-powered Caps? The Jets are only in the Southeast Division for this season, so it could be a while before AO and company come back. A divisional matchup late in the season, this game could be a beauty. Will Alexander Semin show up? Oh right, he only disappears in the playoffs. He should be there.
5) St. Louis Blues (Saturday, Feb. 25) - I could try to convince you that it's because Alex Steen is coming home, or because I plan on drafting Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart and Carlo Colaiacovo in a fantasy pool. However, the truth is we picked a game that we didn't think anyone would want to go and we tried to get all 5 tickets so we could bring some family. Sorry Blues fans, but we were right. Nobody wanted this game and we got all 5.
6) Tampa Bay Lightning (Monday, Nov. 14) - Another Southeast Division rival with superstar power. The chance to see Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis play live should be awesome, but it might be sad to see a 42-year-old Dwayne Roloson come into the building with his walker.
7) New York Rangers (Monday, Oct. 24) - Neither of us like the Rangers. In fact, I really dislike them. However, the Jets only play 4 home games in October so we wanted to get to another game that month. Oh well, maybe Sean Avery will do something stupid.
8) Ottawa Senators (Tuesday, Nov. 29) - The other Canadian team in the Eastern Conference, we figured that getting a chance to see Daniel Alfredsson before he breaks would be a good idea. Plus, I'll get a chance to see the infamous lazy cross-ice pass from Jason Spezza. I hear it's a thing to behold but it needs to be seen firsthand.
9) San Jose Sharks (Thursday, Jan. 12) - A potential Western Conference powerhouse (in the regular season, at least), I am looking forward to seeing this game. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are always worth watching before the playoffs start. I'm intrigued to see how Brent Burns does in teal as well.
10) Philadelphia Flyers (Tuesday, Feb. 21) - Ilya Bryzgalov has no idea what kind of reception he is going to get here. Despite this game being their 2nd visit, I can't wait to see the crowd chant something about parks to him. Also, getting the chance to see Mike Richards and Jeff Carter play for the... wait, what? They traded them both? Oh. Well, at least I'll get to boo Bryz.
Near the end of the draft we accidentally ended up getting all 5 tickets to the Florida Panthers game on January 21 because nobody else wanted them. In fact, they avoided that game like the plague. Luckily that is the only game of the 3 that I will be forced to sit and watch Florida play in, and I highly doubt that I'll be able to sell them off either. Some other notable games that we got tickets to are all 3 home exhibition games, which should be crazy despite being full of rookies and prospects. We also got tickets to see the Bruins, Wild, Sabres, Islanders and Devils, with each game bringing its own brand of intrigue and players to make fun of.
The draft has made us all realize how awesome that this is going to be, and the excitement is now hitting a fever pitch. The first pre-season game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sept. 20 is less then a month away. The players are arriving in town daily, and even the players can feel the excitement. This is going to be a fun season. Now all we need is for the jersey to be revealed! Go Jets Go!