WINNIPEG – Even his Winnipeg history could not save Johan Hedberg from being the latest NHL goaltender to receive a rough welcome from the MTS Centre faithful on Saturday night.
Jets fans serenaded the 38-year-old Devils' goaltender with chants moments into the contest. Even a video welcome failed to rally much support for the netminder, whose hockey resume includes 62 games with the minor-league Manitoba Moose. The game was his first at the MTS Centre, however -- he played with the Moose when the city’s former NHL building, the Winnipeg Arena, still housed the minor-league club.
Hedberg spent three separate stints with the Moose in both the former International Hockey League and in the American Hockey League when was a member of the Vancouver Canucks. His second season in Winnipeg came a year before the breakout 2001-02 campaign with the Pittsburgh Penguins that helped to establish him as an everyday NHL goaltender.
Despite the reception, Hedberg still expressed his pleasure to see the NHL back in Winnipeg.
"It was exciting," Hedberg said of his return to Winnipeg. "I'm happy Winnipeg got a team back. You can tell the fans are with them. It's an exciting building."