The big story Monday night was that playoff hockey returned to Winnipeg and Jets fans made sure the home team had every advantage. The Whiteout tradition was renewed, visions of Lord Stanley were in the air and for one night, the eyes of the entire hockey world were on Winnipeg.
The Jets play in MTS Centre, which seats about 15,000 fans. It is easily the smallest building in the NHL, but the compact nature is perfect for boosting up the noise level. From the second the teams skated out to the ice, really until the unfortunate OT winner for Anaheim that briefly silenced the crowd, the Jets fans were providing a deafening soundtrack to the game.
There was perhaps no better moment than when Lee Stempniak scored the game’s first goal to give the Jets a 1-0 lead. It was as if 19 years of buildup exploded into one gigantic ball of euphoria in MTS Centre.
The sea of white got pretty choppy after the goal before white towels whipped around ferociously.
According to Sportsnet’s broadcast, the crowd’s cheering reached 124 decibels, a massive number for 15,000 people and actually, potentially dangerously loud.
There was some good and some bad on the first night of playoff hockey's return to Winnipeg, but in general it was a momentous night for the city of Winnipeg, the Jets orgaization and the NHL. What a sight and what a sound.