SPORTS

Jets draw thousands to open practice

09/17/2011 03:03 EDT | Updated 11/17/2011 05:12 EST

Thousands of fans turned out in Winnipeg Saturday to watch an open practice of their new Winnipeg Jets.

They crammed the practice facility, filling the stands and crowding around the boards to watch the team prepare for its first NHL home exhibition game Tuesday.

For many it may be their only chance to see the relocated Atlanta Thrashers. The Jets sold some 13,000 season tickets and will only have 600 tickets available for single game sales.

To buy those, people will have to enter a monthly draw.

Paul Meads was 15-years-old when the old Jets left Winnipeg in 1996. He showed up Saturday in an old Jets' jersey to watch the new squad practice.

He tried for season tickets and couldn't get them but said he wanted to come out just to show his support.

Even the players were excited at the turnout. Tobias Enstrom said fan support was great when he played in Sweden, but such a turnout at practice was a first for him.

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