Jets' captain touches down in Winnipeg

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:51 PM ET

Andrew Ladd could feel the enthusiasm during his first visit to Winnipeg.

That fact-finding mission came just after the relocation announcement and well before the team was named, the logo was released and he signed a five-year contract extension.

With training camp now just a few weeks away and his future a lot more secure, the captain of the Winnipeg Jets can feel the anticipation in the air.

"Especially when you have such a long summer and you don't make the playoffs, you get to a certain point where you just want to get going," said Ladd, who was in Winnipeg for a promotional appearance on Friday. "You get enough of lifting weights and skating circles. It's time to get started here. We're getting close and guys are eager to get going."

It's been a whirlwind summer for Ladd, who also got married in Las Vegas and honeymooned in Bora Bora.

There were a lot of things on the to-do list, but he's found a condo to rent for next season and has been skating the past three weeks and working on all aspects of his game.

"After the wedding it's been nice to relax and get into a routine," said Ladd, who set career highs with 29 goals and 59 points last season with the Atlanta Thrashers. "You're always working at a bunch of different things. In summer, when you're on the ice you're working at speed and getting faster, working on your shot and doing little things around the net to try and just get your skill level up."

The buzz surrounding the return of the NHL to Winnipeg is evident here, but also in other parts of the country -- especially in B.C., where the Jets will take part in the YoungStars tournament in Penticton.

"There's buzz all over the country, not just in Winnipeg," said Ladd. "It's a lot of fun and guys are just excited to get started."

Playing in a rabid hockey market has its own set of challenges, but Ladd said all players can do is embrace it.

"You can use it to your advantage," said Ladd. "You're going to be so jacked up to play every night. Just enjoy it. It's fun going to the rink and knowing that atmosphere is going to be there. The only thing is to not go overboard with it. You've got to be smart about it."

Ladd was also asked about the Swaggerville concept the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football club has embraced and said confidence

"I've heard about it," said Ladd. "It's something you need when you're on a good, winning team. When we were in Chicago (with the 2010 Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks), we had that swagger. Any good team has a little bit of it."


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