On today’s date in 2011, the Winnipeg Jets made their regular season debut before a sold-out crowd at MTS Centre (now Bell MTS Place) in Winnipeg, Man.
After a 15-year hockey void in Winnipeg, the reborn Jets were defeated 5-1 by the Montréal Canadiens. Nik Antropov scored early in the third period to net the first goal in modern Jets’ history.
ORIGINAL WINNIPEG JETS (1972-96)
While the current Jets franchise was relocated from Atlanta (former home of the Thrashers), the original Winnipeg Jets team was one of the founding franchises of the World Hockey Association (WHA), which was established in 1971 but played its first season the following year.
By the end of the decade, when most of the WHA’s teams were folding, the Jets joined the National Hockey League (NHL) along with the Québec Nordiques, Edmonton Oilers and Hartford Whalers as part of the WHA-NHL merger that began the 1979-80 season.
In April 1996, the original Jets played their final game before relocating to Arizona and becoming the Phoenix Coyotes (now the Arizona Coyotes).
MODERN WINNIPEG JETS (2011-PRESENT)
In 2011, the Atlanta Thrashers were relocated to Winnipeg. Four years later, the Jets clinched their first Stanley Cup playoff appearance since relocating to the Manitoba capital. The team finished the season as the Western Conference’s second wild card to earn 99 points and a first-round series with the Anaheim Ducks, who eventually swept the series 4-0, winning each of the first three games with third-period comebacks. The Jets lost the series 5-2 on home ice.
In 2011, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a 50-cent nickel-plated steel coin as well as a $20 Fine silver coin celebrating the Jets’ return to Winnipeg. The coins’ obverses depict the modern Jets logo in the centre.
In 2014, the Mint and Canada Post commemorated the Jets in a coin and stamp gift set featuring a 25-cent cupro-nickel coin.
In 2015, the Mint issued a $10 Fine silver coin featuring the Winnipeg Jets as part of its Canadian Franchises series. The coin – one of seven in the series – has a mintage of 5,000, a weight of 15.8 grams and a diameter of 34 mm. The coin’s reverse features the Jets’ team logo on the left and a silhouette of a hockey player skating on the right. Using a sheer effect colourization, the Jets’ team colours flash under light. The coin also boasts a reverse-proof finish with “10 DOLLARS,” “CANADA” and the year-date “2015” circling the rim.
PASSION TO PLAY
Earlier this year, the Mint commemorated the Jets in its $10 pure silver “Passion to Play” series. Designed by Canadian artist Silvia Pecota, the pure silver coin features full colour over an engraved scene, which is set at an outdoor rink in Manitoba. In the foreground, one player in red skates towards the boards to retrieve the puck while another two players on the right remain in position from the last scoring attempt. A goaltender stands before the net.
All four players are proudly wearing the blue, white and red colours of their beloved home team; above them is the official logo of the Winnipeg Jets, featuring a fighter jet over a maple leaf and all enclosed in a blue roundel.
Also released this year is a 2018-dated $10 pure silver coin designed by John Mantha and featuring the Jets logo above an outdoor scene, in which a child in an oversized Jets jersey is walking hand-in-hand with an adult to the ice rink.