Monday, February 28, 2011

Hype on Steroids

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting awfully sick and tired reading about how Mark Chipman and his most recent financial backer are going to swoop down and temporarily seize control of a failing NHL franchise and move it to the capital of the Socialist People’s Republic of Manitoba.

I am also not surprised that the virtually all of these articles are coming from only one source - the Liberal Free Press.

Day after day now, they have been bombarding us with opinions and editorials that contain precious little new information, stirring up a frenzy that rivals their attacks on the Spirit of Manitoba in the summer of 1995. Jets fans will never forget how this publication turned from newspaper to newsmaker in the rush to discredit anyone who dared to try and wrestle control of the Jets from their beloved Barry Shenkarow. To this day, I use the term “BSN” to refer to this publication, an acronym for Barry Shenkarow News.

To be fair, it would be inaccurate blame the Free Press for the Jets’ departure, but they most definitely used all the influence they could muster to ensure that either Shenkarow would continue to run the Jets or the team would leave Winnipeg. The role they played during this pivotal time as we were fighting to keep our team can most kindly be described as shameful.

Fast forward to present day.

Almost immediately after his support of one-time federal Liberal candidate Glen Murray, not coincidentally, Mark Chipman suddenly became the apple of the Free Press’s eye. Where he and his worthless hockey team could not previously buy space in their publication, today, the Free Press hails him as one of the greatest Manitobans ever to set foot in this part of the world.

Having ascended to becoming the Hockey Tsar of Winnipeg on the backs of government handouts and concessions, not to mention the temporary financial backing of a series of private investors, the latest being David Thompson, it’s almost reached a point where you can’t have a game of shinny on the street without Chipman’s approval.

Now the Free Press wants him to have a NHL team. Badly.

They’re doing on awfully good job of riling up the small, but vocal “Return of the Jets” crowd, who keep claiming that the return of the NHL is just around the corner. It’s been “just around the corner” for the last decade and isn’t likely moving off that corner.

Rather than pining for a way to get Winnipeg back in the league, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is gleefully using the threat of a move to Winnipeg to extract concessions from cities with failing teams. Mark Chipman might be one of Bettman’s favorite people right about now and I admit that it’s nice to see Chipman being used for a change.

The Free Press might be getting many of you in Winnipeg excited, but the only one they’re helping is Gary Bettman and this latest hype effort from the Free Press will most likely to go by the way of so many seasons past when the Jets were here. If you didn’t get enough of the annual letdown they put us through, grab a copy of the Free Press and enjoy the ride.

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