On October 12, 1972, the puck dropped on the first ever Winnipeg Jets game. Originating as a part of the World Hockey Association, the Winnipeg Jets quickly set themselves apart by signing hockey Legend Bobby Hull for $1,000,000 over ten years, and for being the first North American hockey club to seriously explore Europe for hockey talent. The Jets would go on to win three Avco World Cup Trophies during their time in the WHA, leading all other league teams, as well as to claim the title of being the first club team to ever beat the Soviet Elite hockey squad.
By 1979, majority of the WHA teams had run their course, and the teams that remained - Winnipeg, Edmonton, Hartford and Quebec - joined the NHL. After having their roster decimated by a reclamation draft, the Jets experienced two embarrassing seasons before recovering with the additions of Dale Hawerchuck and Dave Babych in 1981. Over the next 15 years, the Jets would make it to the playoffs 11 times, though they were never able to make the finals.
In 1996, after the expansion of hockey teams in the US and the raise of salary across the league - which gave much grief to the Canadian teams - the question was raised whether or not Winnipeg could support a NHL team. Being the smallest NHL market, and having an arena seating only 15,300 people - the smallest arena at the time - it was believed that the team would fall through. After several attempts to save the team failed, the Winnipeg Jets were sold and moved to Arizona where they were re-branded as the Phoenix Coyotes.
On May 31, 2011, True North Sports and Entertainment announced their purchase of the Atlanta Thrashers and their plan to move the team to Winnipeg. As part of the agreement True North set up with the league, 13,000 tickets of a 5 year commitment would need to be sold. On June 4, when tickets were made available to the general public, they were sold out after 17 minutes. After several attempts at buying the Phoenix Coyotes to return the team to Winnipeg were made, a new hockey team bearing the familiar name of The Jets returned.
On October 9, 2011, the new Winnipeg Jets played their first official game against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Jets lost 5-1, but the fans only cheered.
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