Today I was planning on posting an insight piece on what to expect from Eric Fehr once he is cleared join Winnipeg's line-up. But after attending last nights Jets game, I have decided to go in a different direction so I will sum up my thoughts on Fehr in the next 50 words. "He is a guy who loves to cycle the puck and has a laser of a snapshot. If his shoulder holds up, he should see significant powerplay time and should put up roughly 25 points. He is a versatile player capable of taking on either a second or third line role and his return definitely makes this team better".
Good. Now I can move on to a more glaring and controversial topic that has been plaguing me for a few weeks, but has now come to a head in light of last nights game.
What I am talking about is the absolutely classless actions of a few hundred people who effect the entertainment value of the remaining fourteen thousand fans who pack into the MTS Centre to proudly cheer on their new hometown team.
If you think it's proper to start a "Go Jets Go" chant during a moment of silence to honor those who put their lives on the line while making the ultimate sacrifice for their country, then congratulations, you are a jackass.
If you think it's proper to use the "F" word as an adjective in the presence of five year old children, then congratulations, you are a jackass.
And if you think that Tomas Kopecky is "the best f-ing Ukrainian you've ever seen take the ice!" and not "the best f-ing Slovak to ever take the ice!", then yes, you too are a jackass, not to mention completely wrong (Bondra, duh!).
This was only a small sample size of what I and those around we were forced to deal with for an entire three hours last night. Drunken buffoons who were more interested in slurring their words and spilling their drinks on partisans around them than actually enjoying the game.
Buffoons who deemed it necessary to make off colour remarks about the referee's sexual preferences and note that Brian Campbell enjoys performing fellatio on his teammates, as erroneous as that may be.
Before you think that I am some kind of robot devoid of any humor, trust me I am not. But there is a time and place for certain types of humor. When you are in an arena with people of different age groups, backgrounds and ethnicity, it's probably best to keep your lewd comments to yourself.
Another thing that I can't fathom is why anyone would want to pay almost $200 face value for a ticket to a hockey game only to drink themselves into oblivion. At over $8 a drink, you could at least make the smart and cost effective choice of pre-gaming. A little tip: you still maintain that buzz at a fraction of the cost my friends!
Also, no matter what you think (or what the alcohol is telling you) the players can't hear you, the coaches can't hear you, and outside of a smattering of boo's, the referees can't hear you either. I'm sure that Claude Noel would love to hear your opinion of what to do with Dustin Byfuglien, but I am equally as certain that he can't hear you from halfway across the rink.
All that being said, I'm a man and I can handle what transpired last night. I write this piece for the family with a special needs child sitting directly in front of me who felt compelled to leave early in the third period because he couldn't handle it anymore. Couldn't handle the cursing. Couldn't handle the yelling of absolute nothingness in the back of his ear. And for that, I feel shame. Shame for not doing something to rectify the situation while it was still salvageable. Shame for the perpetrators who drove a family trying to enjoy the game together to the early exits.
To take it one step further, I also feel shame for the group of frat boys who once certain the seats were vacant, called down their buddies to occupy them for the remaining eight minutes of game play.
Hockey is a fun game and I there is no denying that Winnipeg is the home of passionate fans. But keep it in perspective. Winnipeg is going to take penalties and are certainly going to lose games. Buying a ticket doesn't give you carte blanche to act like a complete idiot every time the game doesn't bounce "our" way. And if you feel the need to voice your opinions, at least read up on the rules and do a little homework on the players before running your mouth at games. By not doing so make you look and sound like the biggest jackass of all.
This post can be summed up by the great words of goaltender/poet Ilya Bryzgalov who said, "It's hockey you know, it's only game. Why you heff to be mad?"
Indeed, Ilya. Indeed.
Ed. Note: The picture displayed is the type of fan we should all keep in mind when attending live hockey games. Show some class, give these kids a positive fan experience.