WINNIPEG – So the Winnipeg Jets won’t be a part of the playoffs.
Same with every other Canadian NHL team.
Hockey’s heartland won’t host any spring shinny for the first time since 1970 as all seven Canadian teams failed to make the post-season. The tradition of fans north of the border bonding together to cheer for Canada’s last standing squad is over.
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But what if you’re still craving some playoff puck? Which regular season enemy do you become friends with?
The Minnesota Wild are an obvious choice for Manitobans based on its close proximity to our province. A mere 630 km separates us and still frozen ice.
You also can’t go wrong with the Chicago Blackhawks. Their captain is arguably one of the best players to every skate out of Manitoba. Oh…and the fact they’re the defending Stanley Cup Champions helps too.
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Actually, it’s Anaheim. Out of all 16 teams participating in this year’s playoffs, the Ducks have the highest number of players, coaches and general managers who at point called Manitoba. The Ducks have a total of seven (more than enough to form a flying V) people who lived here, edging out the Nashville Predators by one.
But if it’s hometown heroes you’re reserving your hoot and hollers for, then Chicago and the St. Louis Blues are for you. Both teams have three people in their organization who were born in Manitoba.
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The full list of teams and their connection to our province can be found below.
Ryan Garbutt —; Winnipegger
Ryan Kesler —; Played two seasons with the Manitoba Moose between 2003-05
Kevin Bieksa —; Played four seasons with the Manitoba Moose between 2003-08
Mike Santorelli —; Played 10 games with the Winnipeg Jets in 2012-13
Josh Manson —; Played two games with the Flin Flon Bombers in 2008-09
Assistant Coach Paul MacLean —; Played seven seasons with the Winnipeg Jets between 1981-88
Assistant Coach Rich Preston —; Played 80 games with the Winnipeg Jets in 1978-79
Colin Wilson —; Winnipegger
Cody Hodgson —; Played two seasons with the Manitoba Moose between 2008-11
James Neal —; Played five games with the Manitoba Moose in 2008-09
Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton —; Played three seasons with the Winnipeg Jets between 1988-91
Assistant Coach Kevin McCarthy —; Winnipegger
Assistant Coach Phil Housley —; Played three seasons with the Winnipeg Jets between 1990-93
Jonathan Toews —; Winnipegger
Dale Weise —; Winnipegger
Duncan Keith —; Winnipeg-born
Andrew Ladd —; Played five seasons with the Winnipeg Jets between 2011-16
Assistant General Manager Norm MacIver —; Played 39 games with the Winnipeg Jets in 1995-96
Cody Eakin —; Winnipegger
Patrick Sharp —; Winnipeg-born
Johnny Oduya —; Played 63 games with the Winnipeg Jets in 2011-12
General Manager Jim Nill —; Played four seasons with the Winnipeg Jets 1984-88
Assistant General Manager Les Jackson —; Managed and coached the Brandon Wheat Kings between 1980-84
New York Rangers:
Dylan McIlrath —; Winnipegger
Tanner Glass —; Played 78 games with the Winnipeg Jets in 2011-12
Head Coach Alain Vigneault —; Coached the Manitoba Moose in 2005-06
Assistant Coach Scott Arniel —; Played six seasons with the Winnipeg Jets between 1981-91. Played three seasons with the Manitoba Moose between 1996-99. Also coached the Moose for six seasons between 2000-10.
St. Louis Blues:
Alexander Steen —; Winnipegger
Joel Edmundson —; Brandon
Ryan Reaves —; Winnipegger
San Jose Sharks:
James Reimer —; Morweena
Assistant Coach Johan Hedberg —; Played three seasons with the Manitoba Moose between 1997-04
General Manager Doug Wilson —; Played 52 games with the WCHL’s Winnipeg Clubs in 1973-74
Quinton Howden —; Winnipegger
Al Montoya —; Played two seasons with the Winnipeg Jets between 2012-14
Assistant Coach Mike Kelly —; Coached and managed the Brandon Wheat Kings. Also was an assistant coach with the Manitoba Moose
Ryan White —; Brandon
Brayden Schenn —; Played four seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings between 2007-11
General Manager Ron Hextall —; Brandon
New York Islanders:
Travis Hamonic —; St. Malo
Ryan Pulock —; Grandview
Jason Chimera —; Played 21 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 1998-99
Head Coach Barry Trotz —; Dauphin
Assistant Coach Bill Ranford —; Brandon
Jordan Schroeder —; Played two seasons with the Manitoba Moose between 2009-11
Detroit Red Wings:
Darren Helm —; St. Andrews
Eric Fehr —; Winkler
Tampa Bay Lightning:
Assistant Coach Rick Bowness —; Played two seasons with the Winnipeg Jets between 1980-82. Also coached the Jets for four seasons between 1984-89.