Fan-tastic news for Regehr

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:31 AM ET

CALGARY - While some NHLers would rather avoid Winnipeg at all costs, Calgary Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr looks forward to a return trip.

He hasn’t played there since the 1999 world juniors, but he remembers the at-the-time heartbreaking silver-medal performance with Team Canada fondly because of the support the kids wearing their country’s colours received from a city still stung by the loss of NHL hockey three years after their Jets moved to the desert in Phoenix.

“I’m excited about the team coming to Winnipeg. I think they do have really good hockey fans,” Regehr said Tuesday.

“The fans were absolutely fantastic.

“Seeing how well they treated us for the world juniors and how excited they got for the tournament and how they got behind us … they enjoyed their hockey.”

Games that didn’t even feature the Canadian squad were shown love by the fervent hockey fanbase.

While Regehr and his 1999 U-20 teammates — including former Flames teammate Andrew Ference of the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, both of whom will compete for the Stanley Cup starting this week — suffered a crushing overtime loss to the Russians in the gold-medal game, the big defenceman is one of many happy to see the city

of Winnipeg rewarded for

its patience and persistence.

“That tournament is still one of the highlights of my career that I look back on and kind of brings a smile to my face,” Regehr said.

“I’m sure they’ll treat their new team very well. I think they’ll have a good time there.

“Players just need to give it a chance, I think.”


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