From the roaring crowds to the fierce competition on the ice, hockey has always been a beloved sport in North America. And for fans of the Janesville Jets, the adrenaline rush of cheering on their favorite team is incomparable. But beyond the thrill of every game, there is a rich history of fierce rivalries that have captivated audiences for decades. From old grudges to legendary match-ups, let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the Janesville Jets’ most important rivalries.
The Early Years: Janesville Jets vs. Chicago Freeze
In the early years of the Janesville Jets, one of their biggest rivals was the Chicago Freeze. This rivalry was born from geographical proximity and a shared love for the sport. Back in the 1990s, the Freeze were dominant in the Central States Hockey League (CSHL) and were often seen as a hurdle for the Jets to overcome. In fact, their first-ever game against each other in January 1994 ended in a 4-4 tie, setting the stage for a heated competition that would continue for years to come.
The rivalry between the Jets and Freeze was also fueled by players who had previously played for one team and then switched to the other, adding an extra layer of intensity to each game. And while the Jets may not have been as successful as the Freeze in the early years, their rivalry only grew stronger as they fought to prove themselves and claim their spot as the top team in the CSHL.
The Road to Redemption: Janesville Jets vs. St. Louis Jr. Blues
As the years went by, the Janesville Jets continued to establish themselves as a dominant force in the CSHL, but one team continued to stand in their way – the St. Louis Jr. Blues. These two teams were known for their high level of skill and competitiveness, and it was not uncommon to see them facing off against each other in the CSHL championship.
The Jets and Jr. Blues shared a mutual respect for one another, but that did not stop them from giving their all on the ice. With both teams boasting a talented roster and a strong desire to win, every game between them was a must-watch for fans. And it was a rivalry that didn’t end on the ice; even fans would often engage in friendly banter and trash talk, adding to the excitement of each match-up.
New Rivalries: Janesville Jets vs. Fairbanks Ice Dogs & Minnesota Wilderness
As the Janesville Jets moved up to the North American Hockey League (HL) in 2009, their list of rivals grew. Two teams that quickly emerged as worthy adversaries were the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and the Minnesota Wilderness.
The rivalry with the Ice Dogs can be traced back to the 2012 Robertson Cup playoffs where the Jets faced off against the Ice Dogs in the semi-finals. It was a nail-biting series, with the Jets ultimately coming out on top in a thrilling 3-2 victory. This cemented the Ice Dogs as one of the Jets’ fiercest rivals, with each game being a battle for dominance.
The rivalry with the Minnesota Wilderness was also born in the playoffs, this time in the 2015 divisional semi-finals. While the Jets were ultimately eliminated by the Wilderness that year, it was a defining moment for the rivalry, with each team vying for supremacy in the division. The intensity of each game between the two teams is palpable, with fans eagerly anticipating the outcome of every match-up.
A Legacy in the Making: Janesville Jets vs. Springfield Jr. Blues
And finally, we come to the Janesville Jets’ current primary rival – the Springfield Jr. Blues. As division rivals in the HL, these two teams have been going head to head numerous times a season since 2017. What sets this rivalry apart from the others is the close proximity of the two teams, with only a four-hour drive separating Springfield, Illinois from Janesville, Wisconsin.
The Jets and Jr. Blues share a fierce desire to come out on top in the division, with each game being crucial in the race for the playoffs. The intensity of their rivalry has only grown over the years, with passionate fans from both sides cheering on their team at every game. And while the Springfield Jr. Blues may currently hold the upper hand in the series record, the Jets are determined to change that and continue building their legacy in the HL.
As with any sport, hockey is not just about the game; it’s about the rivalries, the passion, and the sense of community that comes with being a fan. For the Janesville Jets, their history is full of intense match-ups with worthy adversaries. From the early years of the CSHL to their current run in the HL, the Jets have left their mark on the hockey world and continue to captivate fans with their fierce competition and never-ending determination to come out on top. So, whether it’s a rivalry revisited or a new one to add to the list, fans can always count on the Janesville Jets to deliver an unforgettable game.