With the National Hockey League’s Eastern and Western Conference Finals decided Thursday (10 May), Canadians from across Cayman were out in droves to support the only Canadian team left in the playoffs: the Winnipeg Jets.
Jets fans are a unique group, showing solidarity the only way they know how: The Whiteout.
“The Winnipeg Whiteout started in the 80’s, anytime the Jets make it into the playoffs, everybody in the arena, everybody watching, everybody in the street, everybody’s dog, everybody’s cat, everybody wears white” says Teri Bilewitch of Fort Richmond, Winnipeg.
The Jets returned to the Winnipeg in 2011 after the franchise was bought, sold and moved to Arizona in 1999. In 2011, the Jets made their return after True North Sports & Entertainment bought the NHL’s Atlanta Trashers and moved them to the Manitoba capital. Today, the Jets are winning, and ‘Peggers’ couldn’t be happier, even in Cayman.
“To actually have the Jets finally be in the playoffs, because a long time we didn’t have the Jets, so to have them back is really nice” says Kelsey McFetridge of St. Vital, Winnipeg.
“This is an exciting time of year, everybody says the whiteout party outside the arena are amazing” says Kelly Haaksma of East Kildonan, Winnipeg.
On this night, the Jets won Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals against the defending Stanley Cup champion Nashville Predators 5-1 to take the series 4-3 and advance to their first Conference Finals. With the team playing so well, the question was asked: could Winnipeg be on their way to winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history?
“It would mean so much to Winnipeg, so much to Canada, so much to this sport, and so much to this city. For someone living in Cayman, it connects me to my roots back home. A girl can only dream, but I don’t want to jinx it by imagining, lets take it game by game.” says Bilewitch.
It’s safe to say ‘Peggers’ in Cayman executed a successful Whiteout.