By Dave Baxter (@davebbbaxter)
The Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers will take a step back in time when they step onto the ice at Investors Group Field for the 2016 Heritage Classic on October 23.
In a ceremony at the corner of Portage and Main on Friday, both teams showed off the jerseys they will wear at the outdoor game that will take place in Winnipeg this fall.
Both jerseys are a throwback to what the Jets and Oilers wore in the 1970’s while playing in the World Hockey Association.
The Jets also introduced their alumni game jersey, which is a throwback to the jersey the Jets wore in the NHL days of the 1980’s.
Winnipeg Jets 1.0 legend Dale Hawerchuk will captain the Jets alumni team, while the ‘Great One’ Wayne Gretzky will captain the Oilers squad.
Jets alumni coming to Winnipeg for the alumni game will include Hawerchuk, Thomas Steen, Teemu Selanne, Kris King, Dave Babych and goalie Bob Essensa.
Oilers alumni will include Gretzky, Mark Messier, Dave Semenko, and Craig MacTavish.
Winnipeg Jets owner Mark Chipman walked out to a rousing ovation when he came on stage to address the crowd at Portage and Main on Friday.
“This is overwhelming,” Chipman said to the crowd. “I honestly can’t believe I’m standing here.
“We’ve been looking forward to this event since we re-entered the NHL IN 2011.”
Chipman said the Heritage Classic “gives us an opportunity for the first time to fully and completely celebrate the heritage of the Winnipeg Jets.”
Chipman also mentioned that Portage and Main was the corner where the Jets officially signed Bobby Hull to a WHA contract back in 1972, and also where they signed Hawerchuk to a NHL contract in 1981.
Hawerchuk came out and introduced the alumni game roster for the Winnipeg Jets on Friday to cheers and chants of “Ducky.”
Current Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler said there would be so many legends in the alumni game that it could be just as much of a draw as the game the current Jets and Oilers will play the following day.
“With the amount of star power on those two teams, the alumni game might trump the main event,” Wheeler said. “It’s just going to add to the excitement.”
The NHL announced a limited number of tickets for the Heritage Classic will go on sale in the fall, and more information on that sale would be released soon.
The Jets Heritage Classic jerseys are now available for pre-sale at Jets Gear locations.