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It’s time to ditch the whiteout in Winnipeg

Bruce Penton discusses the playoff tradition in Winnipeg
bruce penton sports

Hey, Winnipeg Jets fans, it’s time to lose the ‘whiteout’ approach to your team’s National Hockey League playoffs. It’s not working. In fact, it seems to be more of a jinx than anything else.

The idea of the ‘whiteout’ — having all 15,000 fans wear white garb to home games to create some sort of powerful mystique to help their team defeat the opposition — has been about as successful as someone trying to sell broccoli-flavoured bubblegum. White is associated with pale; pale is associated with death; dying in the playoffs is what the Jets have done far too often lately.

How about a red-out? A black-out? Even a green-out might work. Green suggests vibrancy and growth, and the Jets definitely need a growing number of playoff wins. During his decade or more of pro golf dominance, Tiger Woods wore red on Sunday because psychologists suggested red is an aggressive colour and opponents could be intimidated. White is blah. What colour is the flag one waves when surrendering? White, of course.

Face it, Jets’ fans. White is not working. The whiteout approach to playoff games began as a marketing ploy in 1987 but to say it’s getting as stale as white bread left out overnight is an understatement. And while we’re talking about white this and white that, can the NHL powers-that-be not arrange for the Jets to wear their white sweaters while their fans are coated and sweatered in white up in the pews? When the Jets bowed out of this year’s playoffs, they wore blue jerseys in their 6-3 loss to Colorado while the Avalanche wore white. Seemed inappropriate.

While the Jets played at a .695 percentage pace on home ice during the regular season, they have not come close to that kind of success in the post-season. Blame it on the white. Since 2015, when the whiteout fad started to reach its zenith, the Jets are a horrendous 6-15 on home ice in playoff games. They were 1-2 this year, which snapped a seven-game home-ice losing streak. You’d think with that kind of failure, some marketing expert would say, ‘hey, maybe we should lose the white.’

Next year, Jets’ fans, let’s go red. A bullfighter uses a red flag to get the bull supercharged and snorting. Maybe red throughout the Canada Life Centre will add a level of aggressiveness and speed to the Jets that will make them unstoppable. The people in the stands who shell out big bucks to watch their loveable Jets should be reminded that a heart — the symbol of love — is almost always shown as bright red. If you really love your Jets, ditch the white. Leave white for the bride’s wedding day dress and for the colour of the rice on your next Chinese food takeout order. It’s not working as a winning hockey gimmick.

  • Super 70s Sports: “The NCAA transfer rules are insane. I used to think ‘one and done’ was stupid but ‘one here, one there, one there, and one there’ is infinitely worse. These kids are moving around more often than a left-handed relief pitcher.”
  • Phil Mushnick of the New York Post: “How’d you like to be a CBS News-Tokyo employee, recently laid off in order to cut costs while CBS pays Tony Romo $180 million to call half-a-year’s NFL games?”
  • Bob Molinaro of (Hampton, Va.): “The NBA may survive the absence of LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry from the remainder of the playoffs as long as Charles Barkley makes it to the studio on time.”
  • Vancouver comedy guy Torben Rolfsen: “Ferrari signed a massive title sponsorship deal with HP. So expect to start seeing their race cars constantly overheating.”
  • Canadian satirical website The Beaverton, before Game 7: “Hardworking Leafs tie up series, maximize how sad fans will be when they still lose.”
  • Another one from the Beaverton: “Loblaws promises to lower grocery prices as soon as Leafs win three rounds in the playoffs.”
  • Bob Molinaro again: “Virtually every TV highlight from baseball’s spring training is a long ball, as if that’s all the game is about. That would be like daily NBA highlights of nothing but dunks and three-pointers. Uh, never mind.”
  • RJ Currie of “The Canucks won the final two games against Nashville by scores of 2-1 and 1-0. I tuned in to some hockey games and two soccer matches broke out.”
  • Another one from Currie: “ How can you tell it's springtime in Canada? The snow has melted and the Leafs have been falling.”
  • Headline at “Falcons tried to get back in top 10 after drafting Penix, perhaps to grab J.J. McCarthy.”
  • again: “LeBron is starting to concede that the only way he’ll play basketball with his son is at a local rec league at the Y.”

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 



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