The people of Winnipeg are fools. They are in a relationship, but their partner is unfaithful. Repeatedly, and unrepentantly, their lover takes their heart and steps on it with a stiletto heel. Despite the countless sleepless nights, tears shed, and promises broken, they keep coming back, fooling themselves into thinking their partner can change for the better.
The partner is none other than the National Hockey League.
Since 1996 (and one can argue since its arrival in the league 1979), the NHL, headed by the Tiny Perfect Commissioner Gary Bruce Bettman, has taken an unusual amount of pleasure in torturing the people of Winnipeg. First, the NHL forced the Jets to break up the Hull/Hedberg/Nillson triumvirate, stole the beloved team, and as we were mourning at the tombstone, kicked mud in our face, stole the flowers we planted, and munged the body (™ Mutton).
You might think that after such despicable actions the victims, the city of Winnipeg, might hold some degree of resentment towards Bettman and his NHL.
Yet, more than likely, on the 20th of this month, 15000+ masochists will settle in the MTS Centre to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs play the erstwhile Winnipeg Jets, the Phoenix Coyotes. It will be sloppy hockey played by mainly minor league players and fringe veterans. Despite the absence of a quality product, Winnipeggers will descend on the arena sponsored by a provincial telecommunications company that will not be named without first agreeing to a sponsorship deal with me, like a group of squeegee kids do to cars stuck at a red light. They will do this, while paying full price for an inferior product. You wouldn’t drink a beer served warm, or accept a half eaten burger, yet Winnipeggers feel no qualms about paying big money for a piss poor NHL product. (Granted they have been doing this every night in Toronto for the past 50 or so years, but that is a column for another day and time).
Why do Winnipeggers continue to pay hard earned money (either their own or their spouses/parents/inheritance) to witness this nothingness first hand? Beats me.
Will they continue to pay for exhibition crap so long as there is no NHL team in Winnipeg? Yup.
Does this continued flocking to the teat of the NHL embarrass me as a Winnipegger? You betcha.
Does this make Winnipeggers fools? To answer that question, I simply remind my loyal readers of the old adage, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”
And I end this virgin foray into the blogosphere, by simply pointing out that this isn’t the first exhibition hockey game in Winnipeg since the departure of the Jets in 1996.
About the writer: Formerly a speech writer for a Canadian Federal Politician, Andrew will be bringing his unique take on the hockey world to the illegal curve blog once a week, or more often if the rage needs to be released in a manner other than clobbering a referee over the head with a whiskey bottle. Mainly because he doesn’t have enough empty whiskey bottles at his disposal.
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