The Winnipeg Jets season came to an end last night. The Jets just missed making the playoffs which is the bad news. But the good news is the Jets improved immensely from last year. The Jets have a young talented team that will only get better in the years to come. Jets captain Andrew Ladd had a great year. Ladd improved immensely from last year. He creates many opportunities and is always a threat out there. Blake Wheeler has proven to be a real force. And the third member of the first line, Bryan Little, is a solid and talented centreman. Evander Kane is going to be a superstar in the NHL. At 22 years old this guy is already an amazing player. He is big and physical, and he has talent like no other Jet. He is a very fast skater and has one of the hardest shots in the league. Watch out for Kane in the years to come. Back on defence Zach Bogosian and Dustin Byfuglien are top of the line NHL players. And there are a couple young prospects coming up next year. Jacob Trouba and Mark Scheifele will be dominant players. And we have the coach with the best sound bites in the league. Claude Noel appears to be a very competent coach. And his lines are hilarious. So thank-you Jets on a great year and can’t wait for next year.
Claude Noel Soundbites
You know it’s a bad night for your hockey team when the banter taking place between the announcers is more entertaining than the product on the ice. That was the level the Florida Panthers reached on Thursday night late in their blowout loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
With eight minutes to play in the third period and the Panthers trailing 7-2, the Fox Sports Florida announcing team of Steve Goldstein and Bill Lindsay spent several minutes discussing several Winnipeg fun facts, including its title of “Slurpee capital of the world” thanks to the 400,000 Slurpees the city sells per month.
The first known experiment with a national emergency telephone number occurred in the United Kingdom in 1937, using the number 999. The first city in North America to use a central emergency number (in 1959) was the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, which instituted the change at the urging of Stephen Juba, mayor of Winnipeg at the time. Winnipeg initially used 999 as the emergency number, but switched numbers when 9-1-1 was proposed by the United States. In the United States, the push for the development of a nationwide American emergency telephone number came in 1957 when the National Association of Fire Chiefs recommended that a single number be used for reporting fires. In 1967, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice recommended the creation of a single number that could be used nationwide for reporting emergencies. The burden then fell on the Federal Communications Commission, which then met with AT&T in November, 1967 in order to come up with a solution.
Hitler should know that the MTS Centre has opened a couple new washrooms in the basement level.
The Winnipeg Jets will not get to enjoy their forays to the Florida sunshine as much next season. The Jets have been in the Southeast Division of the NHL since getting back in the league last year. Winnipeg is a very long way from the Florida Gulf coast or the Atlantic ocean.
The National Hockey League Players’ Association has given its approval to the NHL’s proposed re-alignment plan. The Jets will not have to endure the long flights to Florida, Washington D.C. and Carolina. On the other hand the hockey players will not get to frolic on the Florida beaches as much next season.
NHLPA executive director Don Fehr released a statement on Thursday, saying, “After discussions with the Executive Board, the NHLPA has given consent to realignment, to be re-evaluated following the 2014-15 season.”
In an NHL memo obtained by TSN last week, the league proposed an Eastern Conference with 16 teams and a Western Conference with 14 teams.
Most notably, the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets will move East, while the Winnipeg Jets will move back West. The Jets have been playing in the Southeast Division since the Atlanta Thrashers franchise moved north to Winnipeg prior to last season.
A vote from the NHL Board of Governors is expected within a week to make the plan official.
Pacific Division: Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose and Vancouver.
Mid-West Division: Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg.
Central Division: Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto.
Atlantic Division: Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington.
The top three teams in each division would make the playoffs, along with the four wild-card teams – the best two non-division winners in each conference.
Surfing through the FM radio dial I came across a very familiar voice. Curt Keilback was calling a Manitoba Junior Hockey League game between the OCN Blizzard and the Neepawa Natives. Keilback is best known to sports fans as the radio and television play-by-play voice of the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League from 1979 to 1996 and the Phoenix Coyotes from 1996 to 2009.
To say Curt has taken a demotion would be an under statement. From the huge arenas of the NHL where the broadcasters sit 35 meters up in the rafters, to the cow barns of the MJHL where the announcers sit two or three rows behind the players benches, Curt is doing what he loves best: passionately utilizing his strong baritone voice to describe the action in a hockey game. If Curt was calling a pee wee game of six year olds he would make it sound like the Penguins and Canucks of the NHL were involved in a winner takes all, frenzied end to end blood battle.
Mr. Keilback has a god given uncanny ability to accentuate, embellish and hyperbolize hockey play by play action. When I used to listen to Curt call Jets games I would get so worked up I would have to pull the car over to stop from losing control of the vehicle. He would have me so excited with his deep voiced A SHOT!! A GOAL!! that I would start jerking my muscles to the point where I would almost have a hernia. And then Curt would sing the phrase OFFSIDE in a deep soothing monotone. Curt takes the term inflection to a whole new level of reality. He could make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up while the next second sound like a humble backroom accountant. So now Curt is back at it, in a smaller league though. Bit it’s a living.
Curt is now working for NCI Radio.
Native Communications Inc. (NCI) operates in Manitoba as a public broadcaster. NCI is an Aboriginal service organization offering radio programming throughout Manitoba, designed for and by Aboriginal people. We are a non-partisan organization.
NCI is in business to provide a service to our listeners and viewers. We are accountable to a Board of Directors made up of Aboriginal people.
NCI has been broadcasting in Northern Manitoba since September of 1971, providing Aboriginal language and cultural programming. The vision and initiative to create an Aboriginal radio station came from the grassroots. A group of people from Cross Lake, Wabowden, and South Indian Lake were instrumental in forming a committee which later evolved into NCI.
Another veteran of the Manitoba sports scene was the colour man on the game Curt was calling, none other than former Free Press reporter Scott Taylor. Scott is now Sports Director/Account Manager at nci fm 105.5 and streetz 104.7 fm and media consultant at Winnipeg Goldeyes Baseball Club.
Here is Curt doing a Jets game from back in the nineties.