ANALYSIS: Patience, not panic, key to Jets’ attendance woes

Despite the disappointment of last Saturday in Vancouver and Wednesday versus Nashville, the Winnipeg Jets remain one of the best teams in the NHL. The fact that they live in the toughest division in the NHL remains the biggest challenge for this team.

Dallas, Colorado and now Nashville make the Central the worst obstacle course any team will manoeuvre in this league. Success in the regular season might still result in a first-round knockout for any of those teams, including the Jets. That should surprise no one.

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But what has surprised me is the reaction to team chairman Mark Chipman’s comments made three weeks ago.

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There have been five home games since Mr. C publicly said that all was not so rosy for the team off the ice. And quite frankly, in hockey circles, it has been a story that has been bubbling since before the pandemic. All the shutdown did was expose and exacerbate the issues.

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And, I know, this is a first-world problem, but in a city that lives and dies with its sports teams and has a great deal of pride in the image those teams project, it is a reality and shouldn’t be forgotten three weeks later.

So here are the facts: Canada Life Centre holds just over 15,000 rabid, loud, rambunctious fans on a good day. And since the owner’s pronouncement, the attendance for those five home dates has averaged just over 13,400 fans, with no sellouts.

Click to play video: 'Bettman, Winnipeg Jets co-owner reassure fans team is staying'

Bettman, Winnipeg Jets co-owner reassure fans team is staying

Not great numbers. Not bad, but not great. But it really says that as well as the team has performed this season, more needs to be done to regain the confidence of a hockey-savvy fan base. And it will take time.

Patience, not panic, should be the theme not over the next five home games, but rather over the next few seasons.

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The commissioner called the Jets a model franchise. And in so many ways it is. But such a compliment comes with hard work, creativity and communication. We’ve seen that in previous years here in Winnipeg. And perhaps the past 21 days are an indication we can see it again.

There is plenty of work still to do. Bridges to be mended. But it is heartwarming to know that the team on the ice is holding up its end of the bargain.

Click to play video: 'NHL commissioner says ‘Sword of Damocles’ not hanging over Winnipeg Jets as attendance slumps'

NHL commissioner says ‘Sword of Damocles’ not hanging over Winnipeg Jets as attendance slumps

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