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Jets new and old excited for Heritage Classic weekend

"I'm in awe looking at everything," says Tyler Myers

by Mitchell Clinton @MClinton007 / WinnipegJets.com

HERITAGE CLASSIC | First Look

HERITAGE CLASSIC | First Look

Patrik Laine and Tyler Myers get their first look at the setup for the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field

  • 01:31 •

Anders Hedberg may have said it best.

Just over an hour before the man who registered 458 points in 285 career WHA games with the Winnipeg Jets saw his name and number inducted into the newly minted Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame, along with Ulf Nilsson and Bobby Hull, the 65-year-old could barely contain his excitement for Heritage Classic weekend.

"This is the past, present, and future in a few days in Winnipeg. How can you beat that?"

Over the course of the weekend, Jets fans will see the future of the game, in players like Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Mark Scheifele, along with current stars such as captain Blake Wheeler, alternate captain Dustin Byfuglien, and many more.

It's also a chance for alumni like Kris King, the last captain the Winnipeg Jets had prior to relocating after the 1996 playoffs, to skate in front of the fans that meant so much to him and his teammates.

"It was bittersweet when we left. We knew we had to go. That trip to Phoenix was a tough one. Leaving that team was really hard. We had great relationships with our fans," said King, who played 260 games with Winnipeg. "We had a really good team when we left and it was really tough. To come back for good reasons is really exciting for all of us."

King says he's been training hard, and is "as lean and mean" as he thinks he can be at 50-years-old. And after getting into the city in time to take in Wednesday's thrilling Jets win over Toronto, King can't wait to get in the room with his fellow alumni before Saturday's game.

Video: Tyler Myers talks Heritage Classic

"When you get together and you see the guys you maybe haven't seen in 10-12 years, it's kind of like you were away for the summer," said King. "Once you're back in the locker room it's the same old stuff all over again. Everybody is taking shots at their favourite guy and it's no different."

While many fans will be cheering on the Winnipeg Jets alumni in the battle against their rival Edmonton Oilers, current Jets defenceman Tyler Myers will be keeping an eye on Charlie Huddy.

Huddy coaches Myers and all the Jets defencemen, but also played with the Oilers for nine seasons, and will suit up for Edmonton's alumni.

Video: HERITAGE CLASSIC | Patrik Laine

"We've been making comments here and there about how he's getting ready for his big game. I'm excited to watch him," said Myers, who will be playing in his first outdoor game when the puck drops between the Jets and Oilers current rosters Sunday afternoon.

"It'll be pretty cool. I'm pretty excited to be in an outdoor game, but to have it at home, it'll be that much more exciting for us," said Myers. "We're going to use the crowd as much as we can, and feed off them as much as we can."

The 33,500 seat stadium will provide an intimate environment for fans in attendance. Myers believes it will be a bit of an adjustment for players not to see fans right on the glass as they are at MTS Centre, but he can't wait for it to get started.

"I'm in awe looking at everything," said Myers looking around the stadium. "It'll be a ton of fun. It's looking good even when the stadium is empty. I can't imagine when it's packed filled with a bunch of Jets fans.

"I'm sure it will be quite the experience."

Video: HERITAGE CLASSIC | Mike Craig

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