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Finnish frenzy surrounds Winnipeg Jets (and Patrik Laine) before games

Finnish forward Patrik Laine of Winnipeg Jets attends team's press conferance in Helsinki, Finland on October 28, 2018 ahead their ice hockey NHL Global Series matches against Florida Panthers at the end of the week. LEHTIKUVA / JUSSI NUKARI

If social media is any indication, the Winnipeg Jets won’t get a lot of privacy this week.

The team is in Helsinki, Finland to play two games against the Florida Panthers, thanks in part to their Finnish superstars – the Jets’ Patrik Laine and the Panthers’ Aleksander Barkov.

Since the Jets landed, the team has been the centre of attention — and reporters there want to know who will come out on top.

Winnipeg Jets’ head coach Paul Maurice had some ideas:

Click to play video: 'Paul Maurice on Who Will Be the Daddy' Paul Maurice on Who Will Be the Daddy
Paul Maurice on Who Will Be the Daddy – Oct 30, 2018

It’s not just Finnish fans who are excited to see their favourite stars in action — plenty of Winnipeggers have made their way over the pond to watch the Jets play.

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Laura Hawkins, her husband Allan and their son Shaun Gray on the plane to Helsinki. Submitted

“My son’s 40th birthday is coming up and he’s been the perfect child.. and he said mom you know what I’d really love to go to Finland and I said yes lets do that,” Laura Hawkins said. “Not to mention the fact that we love the Jets.”

The family got on a plane Monday and said they haven’t seen a lot of Jets jerseys in Helsinki — yet.

“We met a Jets fan from Nottingham, England here for his first NHL game,” Shaun Gray said.

Getting there was easy, they said. Securing tickets was a little harder.

“At two in the morning, in March… and the website to buy tickets was in Finnish. It was a challenge,” said Gray.

The first game happens Thursday.

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