As thousands of Winnipeg Jets fans get set to cheer on the home team Wednesday night when the puck drops on Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, some Winnipeggers are a little torn in their allegiances.
Married couple Pierre and Pam Bedard will be cheering for opposing teams throughout the series. Pam is a Winnipeg Jets fan through and through, while her husband is a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of the bleu, blanc et rouge of the Montreal Canadiens.
“Both of my parents are born in Quebec, so it’s kind of a birthright,” Pierre told 680 CJOB.
“That’s kind of where it came from and evolved into — just sitting with my dad watching the Canadiens games growing up.”
Pierre, who considers himself a hockey traditionalist, said he believes in only supporting one team, despite his wife’s efforts to “reform” him and turn him into a supporter of the home squad.
The couple says they’re prepared for the competitive tension, but will have to see just how competitive they get after the results of Game 1.
“I told Pierre we’d start the first game, watch it together… and see what happens after that,” said Pam.
“We haven’t made any bets. I think we should.”
The Bedards aren’t the only Winnipeggers whose loyalties are being tested during this playoff series.
Winnipeg’s Chuck LaFleche told 680 CJOB he’s a lifelong Habs fan — and he takes his support for Montreal’s team to the next level.
“I invited Guy Lafleur to my wedding … I’ve been to the fantasy camp, played with Richard and Lafleur, and my son was born May 24, 1986, the day they won the Cup against Calgary — a message from God.”
That son’s name? Stephane, after 1980s Canadiens winger Stephane Richer.
Lafleche, however, is torn during this series, saying he has also grown fond of his hometown Jets.
“I also love the Jets. It’s a weird thing –people are gonna call it hypocritical,” he said. “I just see it as fun. Whenever I watch the Jets and Canadiens, I’m happy whoever scores. I view it as win-win either way.”
Lafleche said his roots as a Montreal supporter also come from his family background.
“It goes back to the Quiet Revolution in the 1950s, where, as a French minority in western Canada, we were kind of the spunky little guys in the ’50s and ’60s,” he said.
“But with the pandemic, there’s enough bad things going on that it’s fun to have this distraction. Either way, I win, and it’s going to be fun to watch.”