From the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek:
It has been five years since the Atlanta Thrashers shifted operations to Winnipeg, reviving both the NHL’s Jets and the lost art of heckling.
Heckling – the act of distracting, disconcerting or otherwise disrupting a performer with a razor-sharp gibe – isn’t what it once was. So often now, the dialogue between fans and athletes is mean-spirited, without the sly humour of days gone by.
This is true everywhere except Winnipeg, where a handful of clever fans at the MTS Centre have developed the ability to tease opposing players in ways that are unique in the NHL.
When Alex Ovechkin arrives with the Washington Capitals, the fans chant: “Crosby’s better.” When Ryan Miller is playing goal for the Vancouver Canucks, he hears only “silver medal.” And during last year’s playoffs, Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was serenaded with “Captain Rogaine,” a reference to his premature baldness. Getzlaf’s response was a mixture of amusement and irritation: “Like, I don’t know that I’m bald?”
The Jets, meanwhile, get nothing but love. Players on every team may claim that they have the greatest fans, even if, rationally, mathematically, that isn’t possible. But in Winnipeg, a case can be made.
With their home-opener on tap Friday against the Calgary Flames, and coming off an impressive 3-1 road trip to start the season, the Jets are about to renew a unique affair with their fans, and the fervour shows no sign of waning.