SUN Hockey Pool

Rink atmosphere helps home teams

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:37 PM ET

What's a home crowd like the one the Jets have in Winnipeg worth to a team?

What would a home crowd like an NHL team would find in Quebec City be worth to them?

In their previous existence as the Atlanta Thrashers, playing in a Philips Arena was that big on empty seats and low on energy or atmosphere, the Thrashers wound up with a 183-204-64 record on home ice for their stay in Atlanta (they were 159-253-59 on the road). There were three seasons in which the Thrashers actually won more games on the road than they did at home.

There were only three seasons among the 11 they spent in Atlanta where they had a winning record at home.

Now, after moving to Winnipeg where the passionate fans have made the MTS Centre possibly the loudest building in the league, the Jets -- with a team you could argue counts on the same players as the Thrashers did the last couple of years -- is on pace to set a franchise record for home victories.

Thrashers home ice
wins in Atlanta
SeasonHome Wins
2011-1225*
2010-1117
2009-1019
2008-0918
2007-0819
2006-0723
2005-0624
2003-0418
2002-0315
2001-0211
2000-0110
1999-009
* Projected home victories for Jets in first season in Winnipeg.

The Thrashers had 24 wins at home in 2005-06 coming out of the lockout.

This Jets team, with a 16-8-2 record at the MTS Centre this season through Wednesday, is on pace for 25 wins.

In their last three seasons in Atlanta, the Thrashers had win totals of 18, 19 and 17.

"Even around the NHL, I think the atmosphere in Winnipeg is so different," Jets captain Andrew Ladd said. "Having a chance to have a team and lose it and realize how much it means to the community and the people there. When you come back they realize that and have really taken a hold of it and ran with it. Everybody is passionate about our team and what we do.

"Any time you can get that extra energy from the crowd and you know every time you step out on the ice you know that place is going to be rockin', you're going to be able to feed off that. There can be momentum shifts in a game with a big hit or a big goal. A team thrives on those kind of things. It's been a lot of fun to be a part of is probably the best way to put it."

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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