What a week it has been for local heroes on the move, especially in Winnipeg.
Five years in, the reborn Winnipeg Jets still have a loyal and very noisy fan base, despite making the Stanley Cup playoffs only once since moving here from Atlanta. The fans have definite favourites when it comes to players, and the club appears to have done itself a lot of good by signing Dustin Byfuglein to a 5 year extension.
The big guy is almost a hometown boy, having grown up in Roseau, Minnesota. Besides hockey, he loves ice fishing and he has made it clear that he’s really not interested in playing anywhere else. That kind of loyalty is becoming harder to find these days when “Show me the money” is everyone’s favourite song.
Come the football season, the fans of the Blue Bombers will have some new local heroes to follow, most notably Andrew Harris. He’s a genuine Winnipeg boy who had to go to BC to become a star. When he became a free agent the other day, the Bombers got it right and signed him to a three year deal. The only difference between Andrew and Dustin? About six million Loonies a year.
The CFL does not routinely publish its salaries, but the most that Harris would be pulling down might be $350,000 a season. Byfuglein’s deal immediately became public. It’s a 5 year contract worth a total of $38 million U.S. That averages out to seven and a half million per annum, and it begins with a signing ‘bonus’ of 2 million. Talk about two different worlds when it comes to being a local hero.
Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger should obviously take both of them to dinner. They’ll be paying lots in provincial taxes, not to mention the 8% PST. The loyal fans who buy the tickets only ask that both players give it their best effort, and make us proud. Hey, it’s been a darn good week.
Photo by Lisa Gansky