Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Return of the Jets?

As we all know, it’s election time in Manitoba. The usual smear ads from all parties are out. As is an election promise: to bring back the Winnipeg Jets.

The Winnipeg Jets were sold to Phoenix in 1996. Winnipeg’s population just couldn’t sustain an NHL team. At the time, the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba was unwilling to fund the Jets. Now, Progressive Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen wants the Jets back to “keep young people in the province”.

NDP Premier Gary Doer also plans to bring back the Jets if elected.

Despite being a diehard dipper, both federally and provincially, I’d say only the Liberals are willing to go against the popularity of this plan and examine it rationally.

The New MTS Centre is ill-equipped to house an NHL franchise. It’s smaller than the original stadium, with only 15,000 seats.

Bringing back a sports team doesn’t seem to be the best way to keep the youth in the province. Investing more in the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba, for a time, would bring in more young people. Also, having medical students sign a contract where their tuition would be subsidized if they stayed in the province as a doctor would solve both Manitoba’s doctor shortage and keep the youth (that are medical students) in the province.

All and all, this is needlessly investing time in an impracticable but emotionally appealing idea.

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