The 2014-2015 campaigns marks the fourth season since the Winnipeg Jets have returned to the NHL. The Jets and their parent company, True North Sports and Entertainment, have continually added to the fan experience at MTS Centre each season.
The MTS Centre opened in 2004 when the Manitoba Moose were the main occupants. The building has been a constant draw for concerts and events in its ten years. True North Sports and Entertainment has continued to improve the facility for fans and during the 2014 offseason, they spent another $6 million on renovations. The building capacity now sits at 15,016 - up only slightly from 15,003. Renovations focused on amenities and saw the addition of two new dynamic food/beverage options on the 300 level, an expansion of the Observation Deck Bar and Buffet on the 300 level atrium, and additional washroom facilities.
Food and beverage options have also been added to the Portage Avenue atrium - an area that fans are able to access during the intermission. This allows fans in both upper and lower bowls to meet and mingle which was not possible in the first two seasons.
While small in size, MTS Centre has all the amenities sports fans could want. Washroom facilities are clean, accessible and easy to find. A large selection of food options exist on all concourses, and there are plenty of TV monitors so you do not miss any of the action while running to the concourse for concessions. Inside the arena, a four sided scoreboard hosts in-game video and replay, features, fan shots and the new Winnipeg Jets Social Hub where fans using social media may see their comments displayed.
Fans should arrive early to the game and be sure to walk around the concourse. There are placards for the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, a photo wall of the Jets personnel, and a display of the 1920 Winnipeg Falcons – the world’s first Olympic Gold medal hockey team – complete with jerseys.
Located in downtown Winnipeg, MTS Centre’s location gives patrons plenty of parking options. Portage Place, Cityplace, and the Millennium Library all offer parkade parking in the direct vicinity of the MTS Centre. Lots of other options exist that allow fans to use and access the MTS Centre through the extensive indoor walkway system that exists downtown. Fans can park as far away as the Richardson Building at Portage and Main and walk indoors to the MTS Centre – important for many during Winnipeg’s winter!
Pregame options include the popular Exchange Restaurant and Beer Market located down at the Event Level. The Exchange is open 90 minutes before puck drop and is a good spot to meet before, during or after the game. Local radio TSN 1290 broadcasts live from the Exchange for the postgame show. Player interviews are conducted in a small stage area built into one corner of the restaurant.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Once inside MTS Centre for the game, there are many options for those looking to grab some food and beverages. Food options range from regular arena fare (burgers, dogs, pretzels, pizza, fries, etc.) at several locations around the concourse to favourites like Pizza Pizza, Tim Hortons, Moxies, Local 204 and Subway.
Options abound and even the hungriest of fans will be able to fill up on good quality food. From carved beef, pulled pork, and poutine to the usual fare of burgers, dogs, smokies, and fries there are many options for even the hungriest of fans. If you are really hungry, try the Jumbo Jet Dog - a MTS Centre feature and fan favourite. The Jumbo Jet Dog is a very large hot dog that will run you $9.25 but will fill you up. It is also available in a combo for $13. In addition to the regular toppings, additional toppings available are what make this a monster. Bacon bits, pierogie pieces, chili or nacho cheese are available for an extra $1.50 each. Try the pierogie pieces and if you are not worried about spilling on your jersey, go for the nacho cheese and chili!
Most concessions will run you about $6-$10 for an "arena meal." Beverage prices range from $4.75 for bottled water, $5.25 for a bottled pop (fountain drinks are $5.25 and $5.75) while beer is $8.25 for a regular draft (12 oz) and $9.50 for a large draft (17 oz). Concession information is available on the MTS Centre website where you can open a document with maps of both concourses that details the concessions available.
The atmosphere at MTS Centre is arguably one of the best in the league. Fans are loud and proud. This is experienced right from the arrival of the Jets on the ice, giving them a loud round of applause followed by the first Go! Jets! Go! chant prior to the singing of the anthems. This continues during the anthem(s) when the building does the "True North" shout out during O Canada. This started in the first season the Jets were back as an acknowledgement and thank you to True North Sports and Entertainment who purchased the team and brought them to Winnipeg.
Popular pre and postgame spots around MTS Centre include Tavern United on Graham Ave., Boston Pizza Cityplace, Yellow Dog Tavern on Donald St., The Shark Club in Cityplace and The Metropolitan on Donald right across from MTS Centre. This recently renovated attraction boasts a massive screen, dining and comfort for those that want to pregame, postgame or catch a game when the Jets are on the road.
While options abound for the pregamers. MTS Centre's central downtown location makes for easy access and lots of options. Traffic before and after a game is never really an issue as there are many routes in and out of the downtown area. Winnipeg's SHED (Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment District) district is beginning to provide lots of options for fans and visitors alike. You can visit the SHED website to find out more about options available. Winnipeg has struggled for years to get people downtown. Current development and the return of the Jets has seen a much busier downtown. Park a few blocks away from MTS Centre on a nice night and walk to the game and you will see lots of people out and about.
Jets fans blow the criteria for the FANFARE scale out of the water. Fans can be heard reacting to penalty calls, chanting the opposition goalie's name, creating unique and intelligent chants and, of course, cheering on their team as loudly as they can. Fans are knowledgeable about their home team and about the opposing team as well. The fans at MTS Centre create a one of a kind atmosphere making the overall experience special. Fans will be decked out in their home blue Jets jerseys so be sure to consider the Jets Gear Store at MTS Centre or St. Vital Centre to purchase some Jets merchandise if you want to look the part.
Jets fans are knowledgeable and are there to support their team - as well as give the opposing team a hard time. Chanting the opposition goalie's name is common. Fans also often select a visiting player to boo any time he touches the puck. Chants of Go! Jets! Go! are frequent throughout a game, usually starting in the upper deck and making their way down and throughout the arena.
If you are a fan who likes to cheer and get involved, get some seats in sections 309-315 as this is where many chants often originate.
Access to MTS Centre is fantastic. Situated on Winnipeg's famous Portage Avenue between Donald and Hargraeve, the MTS Centre is easy to get to and easy to get home from after a game as well. It's a remarkable change for anyone who ever saw a game at the old Winnipeg Arena. One need not leave early from the game to beat the traffic. Fans can stick around to the last whistle and enjoy every moment of the game. MTS Centre is connected to Winnipeg's extensive downtown indoor walkway system so fans can park, leave jackets in the car and wear only their jerseys to the game by walking indoors.
Prices at MTS Centre are what one would expect for an NHL arena. Fans will pay more on site for food than elsewhere so a pregame visit to a downtown restaurant or bar is a good option. The overall return on investment is decent. An evening at the game for two with food, beverage and parking will run you around $160 for the cheapest seats and upwards of $375 for the most expensive. Of course, seats range in price depending on the opposition.
Games are grouped into an A, B or C and prices vary depending on this classification. Getting a ticket is another venture. Tickets are released on game days, with Wait List members having first crack at the available seats. This building is generally sold out with season ticket holders claiming the majority of available seats. These contracts are 3, 4 and 5 year contracts and there is not much turnover. As the team enters into their fourth season, however, there are more seats available on game days than there have been in the past. Visitors coming to a game should check the Jets Seat Exchange. Ticket information is available here on the Jets website or with our ticket partner, Ticket Monster.
There are several bonus points at MTS Centre. The facility itself is well thought out. Now entering its second decade, the building looks remarkably new thanks to constant renovations and additions. The views are good no matter where you sit.
Bonus points have to be given to the fans at MTS Centre. Players appreciate playing here and they hear the fans loud and clear as the building's design has the fans sitting right over top the ice surface. As loud as it may seem to a fan in the stands, it is louder for a player on the ice. A Jets game at MTS Centre is an event in and of itself. It is a night out on the town for many in Winnipeg. Jets fans plan ahead for the best night out and anyone visiting MTS Centre should do the same. Bonus points go to the SHED district and the wealth of options for pre and postgame meals or drinks.
Sometimes the Hockey Gods get it right. The Winnipeg Jets, one of the mainstay NHL franchises brought over from the old WHA, was brutally ripped away from this community in 1996. Despite broad fan support and a culture that was ravenous about hockey, financial problems exacerbated by a then weak Canadian dollar, coupled with the league's "Southern Strategy" to base more teams in the southern USA, doomed the Jets to Phoenix.
But the dream here never died. The community built the new MTS Centre in downtown Winnipeg to replace the old and dated Winnipeg Arena. A new AHL franchise, the Manitoba Moose, began play here. Grassroots support grew and grew for the return of the NHL. The dreams were realized in the 2011 offseason, when the Atlanta Thrashers were bought and relocated here. The Winnipeg Jets are back again. All seems right with the world.
I loved the WHA Jets; loved the NHL Jets (version 1.0), but I was never too keen on the old Winnipeg Arena after the addition of the upper decks. I am once again in love with the NHL Jets (version 2.0 now), and the MTS Centre is far and away much better than the old barn- with a few exceptions. The upper concourse is not as spacious as it could be. Between periods it is wall to wall people; most of these people are waiting in line to use the washrooms. Which brings me to another shortfall of the MTS- bring back the trough! The old Arena had Men's facilities that consisted of long rooms lined with a long trough to accommodate shoulder-to-shoulder "use", and had doors on either end of the room. You could pack a whole lot of people in there; the line moved VERY quickly- in one door and out the other. Now the facilities consist of a single entrance, 4 urinals, 3 stalls, and 4 or 5 sinks. Getting in and getting out of the room is like being in a tin of sardines (without the oil to help you slip through). The line moves at a snail's pace as well. If you consider the average Winnipegger and their capacity for beer intake, the designer(s) of the building weren't thinking when they designed the building.
This brings me to the last shortfall. The designer(s) left no space to hang the Queen's portrait- 'nuff said!
Overall the MTS Centre is the best place that I have ever had the privilege of being in to watch a hockey game. The food is more than adequate, the atmos and the fans are electric, the downtown area is far safer now than it was before the MTS was erected, I've never had a problem getting to the arena whether it be via public transit, cab, car, or on foot. There are a number of excellent sports bars, restaurants, and pubs in the area for pre and post-game food and fun, and you always get your money's worth, whether the Jets win or not.
If you somehow manage to get Jets tickets you will never regret going to the MTS Centre, unless you want to see the Queen or use the washroom.
The Jets are great for the city but dangerous city. Security is good but things are way too expensive. Many Fans also have no knowledgeably about the game.
From the beginning, when True North bought the IHL’s Minnesota Moose, it began to run the hockey team like an NHL franchise. The group knew it would have to prove over time that Winnipeg was ready for NHL hockey to return. Having the once difficult US/Canada currency issues under control has helped immensely, but careful planning and a clear vision was needed to create better financial conditions.
The success of the Jets has been led by the decisions of some very sharp local business leaders. In 2011, under the leadership of Mark Chipman, Chairman of True North Sports and Entertainment, a vision of what an NHL franchise would look like came into sharper view quickly and is what the current Winnipeg Jets and their fans are enjoying today.
Among the key decisions in building a successful business model has been the structuring of season ticket commitments where multi-year commitments are required. Additionally, establishing inclusive efforts to provide single game tickets through a lottery draw process has helped appeal to all fans. Add to it a careful crafted plan to develop, establish and market the new Jets brand, and in keeping a very active event calendar for the MTS Centre all points to a successful launch of a new identity.
With a metropolitan population of 850,000, Winnipeg is the NHL’s smallest metro market, but is unquestionably among the most passionate in the league. When you walk inside the seating area of the arena, there is a distinctive sign which appears high on the east side of the rink at the first level of the press box. It reads “Home of the Winnipeg Jets – Fuelled by Passion.” As the new Jets continue to weave their impression into the fabric of Manitoba’s capital, visitors to the MTS Centre can look forward to a first-class NHL experience and one of the best the league has to offer.
345 Graham Ave
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0L2
66-333 St Mary Ave
Winnipeg, MB R3C 4A5
520 Lagimodière Blvd
Winnipeg, MB R2J 3E7
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