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Jets home opener hosts the beginning of a fan's special tribute

One jersey will visit all 31 NHL arenas by the end of the season

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - Wednesday's home opener at Bell MTS Place was a special night for Graeme Fortlage.

Not only was it the start of a new hockey season, but also the start of a special tribute for a close friend.

Over a year ago, Fortlage and Carter Jansen planned to be in the building when the Winnipeg Jets opened the season against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The two had met through Xbox Live, and shared a love for hockey. Their friendship grew closer, despite Fortlage living in Winnipeg, and Jansen residing nine hours away in Beechy, SK.

Jansen had wanted to see the Jets play live since the franchise relocated to Winnipeg in 2011. After years of planning, the two finally found a night that would work: Oct. 13, 2016.

It was going to be Jansen's first live NHL game, but it never happened.

On May 19, Jansen passed away after a collision with a semi-trailer truck. Fortlage found out about the tragedy through another friend on Xbox Live, and later, while reminiscing with friends one evening, decided on the perfect tribute.

A jersey with Jansen's name on it, along with his number 10, will visit all 31 NHL arenas this season. Fittingly, Bell MTS Place was the first stop.

JetsTV met up with Fortlage just hours before Wednesday's home opener:

Video: Jersey Tour

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