New Jets the only ones for Senators’ Winnipeg prospects

For anyone who remembers well when the original Winnipeg Jets franchise patrolled rinks around the National Hockey League, a chat with the Ottawa Senators’ Winnipeg-born prospects about it is a reminder of just how quickly time flies.

New Jets the only ones for Senators’ Winnipeg prospects
Goalies Francois Brassard (left) and Chris Dreidger. (Julie Oliver/OttawaCitizen)

WINNIPEG — For anyone who remembers well when the original Winnipeg Jets franchise patrolled rinks around the National Hockey League, a chat with the Ottawa Senators’ Winnipeg-born prospects about it is a reminder of just how quickly time flies.

Winger Mark Stone, who figured to have some friends and family in the stands as the Senators faced Jets 2.0 at the MTS Centre Sunday night, was kinda sorta aware of what was going on.

“I didn’t really realize it too much — I think I was four years old, but as you started to grow up, realizing we did have an NHL hockey team in the city and lost it, you started to realize how disappointing that was as a young guy.

“It’ll be exciting, especially with the Jets back now. I still remember when I was young, we lost them, so it’ll be exciting for sure.”

Stone isn’t new to the MTS Centre. His junior squad, the Brandon Wheat Kings, played a playoff series here a couple years ago.

And it just so happened another Winnipeg kid and Ottawa Senators prospect was at the other end. Goalie Chris Driedger’s Calgary Hitmen were on the losing side of that tilt.

“I think we played Brandon in the first round of the playoffs, but that didn’t go too well for me. They had Mark Stone and he got the better of me in that series,” Driedger said with a laugh.

So what does he remember of the Jets as a boy? Another laugh.

“I’m pretty sure I was like, two or three.”

That said, his family followed the team.

“Just the general vibe around Winnipeg, everyone was really excited to get a team and it’s going pretty well, it’s always sold out and it’s usually pretty loud, so yeah, I hear that the preseason games are usually pretty packed at the MTS Centre,” said Dreidger, who was ultimately left off the Senators’ travel roster.

He said he hoped to catch a game here over the Christmas break if he could.

Of course, that assumes he won’t get the call to join Canada’s world junior squad over the holidays.

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