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Winnipeg Jets fans celebrate outside the MTS Centre before the Winnipeg Jets game against the Montreal Canadiens before NHL action at the MTS Centre on October 9, 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The game is Winnipeg's first NHL regular season game in 15 years. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

Marianne Helm/2011 Getty Images

Streets around the MTS Centre were packed with fans cheering, trying to buy tickets or just soaking up the atmosphere "We were at home watching on TV and we said we have to get down there where the action is," said Kelly deGroot who was waiting to get inside the arena with her husband Fred. The crowd, most sporting Jets jerseys and many with their faces painted, let out a huge cheer when the doors finally opened at 2:30.

Jets co-owner Mark Chipman said he was "glad people felt so good"

Winnipeg is a "collective act of goodwill", he told reporters. "We have overcome a lot"

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Even Montreal coach Jacques Martin felt the excitement telling reporters he was glad to be part of the Jets first game. He added that his players are trying to stay focused and just weather the first few minutes of the game.

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More

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