Me: “Hello, my name is Mike Guthrie, and I am a fan of the Winnipeg Jets.”
Mulleted Support Group: “Hello Mike”
I have an addiction. I have been a Winnipeg Jets fan longer than I care to admit. Like any addiction, I actively participate in actions and behaviours (season ticket holder, launching a podcast) that are detrimental to my overall physical and emotional well-being.
Am I going to quit? Hell no.
My first real memory as a Winnipeg Jets fan was attending Game 4 of the Smythe Division semi-final (man I miss the old division names). Dave Ellett scored the overtime winner against the Edmonton Oilers to take a 3-1 lead in the series. It was, until this year, probably the most memorable goal in Jets’ NHL history. What happened after that? We lost 3 straight and got bounced from the playoffs. Also, we traded Ellett the next season. Naturally, I was hooked.
When the Jets left for Arizona in 1996, I was still young, and mostly preoccupied with figuring out why Alanis Morrisette had written a song about irony that wasn’t ironic. I had just stopped wearing my hair in a ponytail, so I thought I had the world figured out. Nic Cage made great movies, and I didn’t need the Winnipeg Jets in my life. This is why youth is wasted on the young. I was forced to quit cold turkey.
When the Jets came back in 2011 – full relapse. The draught broke, much like Nic Cage all these years later. A motley crew of Andrew Ladd, Nik Antropov, Eric Fehr, and Mark Stuart dramatically deboarded an actual Jumbo Jet modelling the new Jets uniforms looking like a terrible Russian “Friends” spinoff…and we were ready for takeoff.
What did this mean for Manitoba? Look, Winnipeg is cold and flatter than a Rick Reilly punchline. Our Province is ineffectually called “the armpit of Canada”. Without NHL hockey in Winnipeg, life is as barren as the landscape. They say that most pet owners resemble their pets. Well, that is true of fandom. Winnipeg Jets fans are resilient and suffer from an inferiority complex, much like the organization they cheer for.
That’s why I have embraced my addiction. My good friend Vaughan and I created a podcast (and are delighted to join the FHN crew) as a labor of love. Even this year. The 2021 season was quintessential Jets. High promise, exhilarating peaks with a disappointing finish – much like an episode of the Airport Lounge. Exacting revenge for years of playoff beatdowns at the hands of the aforementioned Oilers was the best Jets moment I have ever experienced. Getting swept by the Canadiens in the next round…one of the worst. I embrace it all.
So, whether it is Pierre-Luc Dubois’ sublime tattoos, or Paul Maurice’s terrible decision making, we are going to try to use this platform to add levity and clarity to the evaluation of the team we love. Mike McDermott from Rounders said it best: “You can’t run from who you are. Our destiny chooses us”
I’m Mike Guthrie, and I’m proud to be a Winnipeg Jets fan.