When the Jets flew south in '96, victims of a nose-diving Canadian dollar and the NHL's new sun belt philosophy, “Winnipeg didn't just lose a hockey team. It lost history. It lost prestige. It lost civic pride. It lost Keith Tkachuk” writes Randy Turner in the opening pages of Back In the Bigs. Now, in 2011, as the Jets finally return to Manitoba and an entire country revels in the glorious resurrection of one of Canada's most beloved NHL franchises it's time to look back on the history of professional hockey in Winnipeg.
From the record breaking contract that brought the Golden Jet to the frozen north, from Nilsson to Hawerchuck to Byfuglien, from the WHL to the NHL to the AHL and back again, Turner chronicles the thrilling triumphs and heartbreaking defeats of a city's proud hockey history in this richly illustrated commemorative keepsake for fans across the country. This is the story of an underdog team, once a regional passion, which has become a national obsession. It's an epic, emotional rollercoaster ride from Portage and Main to the barren Phoenix desert and the deep American South, finally returning home to a whiteout in Canada's hockey heartland.