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Title track: T91
Fan relations: 55
Stadium experience: 49
Bang for the buck: 102
Change from last year: +28
As we know, winning isn't everything -- but it's a lot. And the Winnipeg Jets, who brought their tattered history from Atlanta to Winnipeg in the summer of 2011, have won ... well, squat. Zero playoff wins and just two playoff appearances since 1999. One of those postseasons happened last spring -- along with the emergence of top young talent and a blockbuster trade -- to help the Jets jump a healthy 28 spots in the fan rankings from 97th to 69th.
We know Jets fans love ownership, which has given management and the coaching staff the tools and the latitude to improve the team. The best moves: a trade of unhappy winger Evander Kane to Buffalo for Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford, both of whom contributed to the Jets' surprise playoff berth last season. Under head coach Paul Maurice, who came on board last January, the Jets have developed a reputation for hard work and physical play, winning hearts in Manitoba and beyond. That relationship is reflected in double-digit gains in ownership, coaching and players, all of which now rank in the top half of all franchises.
The move to Winnipeg came with its difficulties. The team has some unavoidable limitations coupled with the high cost of attending NHL games up north (only the Maple Leafs have higher ticket prices among the Canadian teams). Back in 2011, the Jets moved into a building that was -- and still is -- home to an American Hockey League team (go Manitoba Moose!). Considering the surroundings, fans graded affordability (91st) and bang for the buck (102nd) appropriately harshly.
From the moment the team returned to Winnipeg, the MTS Centre has enjoyed the reputation as one of the loudest buildings in the NHL. The decibel level went up even higher this past season when the Jets were actually playoff bound, and fans bumped them up the stadium experience rankings from 84th to 49th. This year ownership has committed to improving the facility with a new score clock and upgraded suite amenities and new seats in some areas of the arena as part of a CA$30 million investment in the arena and practice facility. With those improvements, and an already climbing reputation, imagine where this stadium would rank if the team actually won a playoff game.