Jets set to hit the ice this weekend with Fan Fest, preseason debut

It’s an enormous weekend for Winnipeg Jets followers.

Not solely will the group welcome Winnipeggers again for the primary Jets Fan Fest in two years on Saturday, however the gamers kick off the 2022-23 marketing campaign with a pre-season highway recreation in opposition to the Edmonton Oilers Sunday night.

Fan Fest — which incorporates a chance for the Jets trustworthy to look at group practices in particular person on the Bell MTS Iceplex — was cancelled two years in a row as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, and the group’s normal supervisor says he can’t wait to get again on the ice in entrance of a crowd.

“It’s a particular time, and it’s superb — you lose sight of it while you haven’t had one since 2019. It’s superb how time flies,” GM Kevin Cheveldayoff instructed 680 CJOB.

“I really like watching the youngsters on a day like that. Hopefully it’s a pleasant day to allow them to mill round outdoors and have some enjoyable and actually get to get pleasure from what being a Jets fan is all about and getting an opportunity to see the gamers up shut.

“These are the issues that make an impression on younger children and possibly dwell with them for a very long time.”

Cheveldayoff mentioned a return to normalcy is nice for the gamers, too, after a few years of uncertainty and taking part in within the NHL’s COVID-19 bubble.

“When fall comes within the air … it’s only a feeling. In the course of the COVID time, the bubble time, that’s one thing the blokes talked about that was actually completely different — your physique clock is completely different,” he mentioned.

“Not having coaching camp, or having coaching camp in January, it simply didn’t appear proper. This appears proper, and we’re wanting ahead to it.”

One key member of the Jets, new head coach Rick Bowness, will probably be experiencing coaching camp for the primary time with this group, however it’s not his first go-around with a Winnipeg hockey membership.

Bowness performed for the outdated Winnipeg Jets for a quick stint within the early Eighties, and in addition served as an assistant coach and, finally, head coach for the membership.

The coach mentioned his earlier expertise in Winnipeg — in addition to the beginning of his daughter within the metropolis in 1986 — has given him and his household an affinity for the town and its hockey followers.

“I labored for the Jets for 9 years by the ’80s,” Bowness instructed International Information.

“We’ve an affiliation to the town, we’ve a tie-in to the town and the province, we perceive the passionate following this group has, which we’ve all the time admired.

“I’ve all the time adopted the Jets since they got here again within the league — which I used to be thrilled after they did — so it’s an awesome honour for me and an awesome privilege to be given the chance to return again as their head coach this 12 months.”

Bowness has already made his presence felt on the group — together with his current determination to demote longtime captain Blake Wheeler — and mentioned he’s trying to deliver the Jets again to success after a disappointing season.

“One of many issues I keep in mind a few years in the past is coming in right here and saying, ‘Wow, that group could be very, very exhausting to play in opposition to.’

“For no matter motive, the group misplaced its method just a little bit final 12 months and it wasn’t as exhausting to return in right here and get two factors. What we’ve to re-establish is making our enviornment a really, very tough rink to play in and to make the Winnipeg Jets a really tough and irritating group to play in opposition to.”

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Jets prepare for Fan Fest 2022'
Winnipeg Jets put together for Fan Fest 2022

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