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Hockey fan vows to honor late friend by bringing jersey to all 31 NHL arenas

ST. LOUIS – One man is determined to take a Winnipeg Jets jersey to every NHL arena this year in honor of his friend who passed away. That jersey made a stop at the Scottrade Center Friday night.

Graeme Fortlage lives in Winnipeg and met Carter Jansen playing video games on Xbox Live. The two soon learned that they both had a love of hockey and the Winnipeg Jets.

Carter lived in a small rural town and the two friends only met in person once. Carter had never been to a NHL game, so the friends planned to go to the Jets’ home opener together. Then in May 2016, five months before the game, Carter was killed in a car accident.

To honor his friend, Graeme bought a Jets jersey with Carter’s name on it and vowed to bring it to all 31 NHL arenas.

“I was struggling to think of people that were living or able to take the jersey to certain cities, so I put the call out there on various different Facebook pages and groups that I am part of, and people have been coming out of the woodwork to jump on board. It’s insane,” Graeme said.

Kim Matthews saw it on Facebook and teamed up with Graeme to help. She took the jersey to a Dallas Stars game, then a Predators game in Nashville where she lives, then drove to St. Louis to bring the jersey to Scottrade Friday night.

“I understand as a huge hockey fan how important it is being at the games and to never have experienced (it), that is rough, so this is a way he’s getting there,” Matthews said.

There is now a Facebook page devoted to Carter’s jersey and people all across the United States have been offering to bring it to games. Through that the Jersey is being shipped or driven from city to city.

Scottrade is the eighth venue to be checked off Graeme’s list and teams are starting to take notice.

A picture of the jersey is taken at every arena. Organizers are trying to get the captains of the team to sign the back. After it has been to all 31 NHL venues, Graeme plans to give the jersey and pictures to Carter’s parents.