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Where it all began

I’m excited to be visiting Winnipeg in January. Yes, you read that correctly.

And I’m not alone. The Vancouver Canucks as a group are looking forward to their first visit to Winnipeg since the rebirth of the Jets; it’ll actually be Vancouver’s first time back in Winnipeg since February 21, 1996, when the Canucks beat the Jets 5-3 thanks to a three-point game from Alexander Mogilny.

A lot of Canucks have ties to Winnipeg with the city having been home to the Manitoba Moose, Vancouver’s AHL farm team, from 2001–02 to 2010–11. That includes yours truly.

It seems like just yesterday I was bundled up in my snowsuit walking along Donald Street, across Portage Avenue, down to Princess Street, eventually arriving at Red River College.

I’m originally from Brandon, Manitoba, two hours west of Winnipeg and after a long series of twists and turns in my life, I moved to Winnipeg in 2006 after being accepted into the Creative Communications program at Red River College, where I majored in Journalism.

I lived in Winnipeg for two years cutting my teeth on the mean streets and freezing my buns off along the way. I remember starting my car early one morning and somehow the ice block of a Ford EXP fired up; I heard the radio deejay then say it was minus-50 with the wind chill at that moment. That was when I realized Winnipeg and I had to breakup.

Some people are built for Winnipeg. I am not.

That being said, I’m looking forward to going back.

I spent a lot of hours in the MTS Centre covering the Manitoba Moose in college; I worked freelance for the Moose, Canadian Press and eventually the Vancouver Canucks, who were excited about prospects like Jannik Hansen, Alex Edler, Luc Bourdon, Michael Grabner, Mike Brown, Mason Raymond and Rick Rypien.

When I realized Canucks.com didn’t have much Moose prospects coverage on the site, I started profiling the stars of the future, beginning with Raymond. Then Juraj Simek, Jason Jaffray, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Brad Moran and Zack FitzGerald.

I interned with the Canucks twice during my final year at Red River, then moved to Vancouver and bullied my way into a job. Now here we are, six years, countless stories, blogs, photos, captions, tweets and nonsense later, headed back to where the dream started to become a reality.

Same goes for Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, Jordan Schroeder, Kevin Bieksa, Chris Tanev, Eddie Lack, Hansen and Edler, all of whom will be back on the ice at the MTS Centre for the first time since turning enough heads they were able to make the jump to Vancouver.

Dale Weise never played for the Moose, but he’s from Winnipeg and is as amped up as anyone – even in January with the forecast calling for a high of minus-20 Thursday.

All signs point to Weise and I getting slurpees to celebrate our return to the Peg.

Slurpee and a nip if we leave with a win.

Let’s have a great road trip, I look forward to hearing from you along the way.

Derek

P.S. - Yes, I know how ridiculous I look in the above photo. Thank you for reminding me anyways!