They don’t give in too easily, these Winnipeg Jets fans.
Despite their team’s season being on the brink in a do-or-die Game 5, down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series to the Vegas Golden Knights, you’d be hard pressed to find a doubtful tone among the thousands of white-clad fans.
Outside, the street crowd chanted “We want the cup,” while inside Bell MTS Place, fans brought homemade signs that said “We still like our odds” and “We believe.”
None seem ready to throw in all of those white towels they’ve been waving since the puck dropped on the team’s first playoff game back on April 11.
“We’ve just so much enjoyed this season and the way the club has played and I really think that with the support of the fans, they can do it. They can come back from 3-1 down and move on to the final,” said Ron Zuke, who is originally from Manitoba but now lives in Airdrie, Alta.
He and his wife, Selene, made the trip to Winnipeg for Game 5 and made sure to rent a white car to make their way to the arena. With them, they carried the licence plates from their vehicles at home — Alberta plates that say NHL Jets and Jets Fan.
“If you watch the last couple of games, the Jets have really dominated at times and it’s really just been [Vegas goalie Marc-André] Fleury standing on his head,” Zuke said.
“If they can cut down on mistakes and capitalize on their chances , I think they can do it one game at a time.”
“One game at a time,” echoed Selene, who said she was never a hockey fan before, but since watching the Jets, “now I’m hard core.”
Conrad Hoy, dressed in a white wig and Viking helmet, looked ready to celebrate, but admitted he’s nervous.
“It’s a big, big hole,” he said about the 3-1 deficit. “I’ve been nervous every game, but now I’m super nervous.
“They have to go to another level. A desperate level.”
In an effort to spark his team, Jets coach Paul Maurice has shaken up his defensive corps, sitting Toby Enstrom and Ben Chiarot and starting Dmitry Kulikov and Joe Morrow, the hero of the franchise’s first playoff win.
It was Morrow’s goal that lifted the Jets to a victory in Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild.