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Ex-Jet Essensa happy to see possible NHL return to Winnipeg

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TSN.ca Staff
5/20/2011 10:12:37 PM
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When the buzz began regarding a struggling American NHL franchise possibly returning to Winnipeg, many people questioned whether current players would want to play in the Canadian city.

One person who would be an expert on the subject is former Jets goaltender Bob Essensa, who started his career in Winnipeg. 

Essensa believes that it's about time for a team to return north of the border.

"I feel as a Canadian, that you felt a loss when you saw teams move from Quebec and Manitoba, areas that can support and love the game of hockey," said Essensa. "From a purely hockey standpoint, it's nice to see them get another team in that market."

Essensa played in Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver during his NHL career and understands some of the struggles Canadian teams went through during the late 80's and 90's.

"Back when I was in the 'Peg, I think the exchange rate was 40 cents on the dollar. That was a long time ago," said Essensa. "It was tough for those cities to compete and on the free agent market it was even tougher."

He also believes that with the talent already on the roster of the Atlanta Thrashers, the club that might move to Winnipeg already has the recipe for success.

"I think they stand a much better chance of attracting players. I know what coach (Craig) Ramsey stands for and he'll certainly attract players as well," said Essensa.

"They are already starting from the base of a nice hockey club so they shouldn't have much to worry about."

Bob Essensa (Photo: Scott Levy/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Scott Levy/Getty Images)
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