By Carter Brooks
Photo by James Carey Lauder
Building off of the success of the 2018 whiteout street parties during last season's Winnipeg Jets playoff run, the street parties will return this April.
On Monday, Economic Development Winnipeg, in partnership with True North Sports and Entertainment announced that tickets to this spring's whiteout street parties would cost a purchase fee of $5. All proceeds will go to Winnipeg's United Way. Fans will bel able to buy tickets from Ticketmaster on April 8th, with a limit of four tickets per person. The area surrounding Bell MTS Place will accommodate 15,000 fans, while an expansion will occur should the Winnipeg Jets extend their playoff run past the opening round.
Much like last season, the Jets will once again host viewing parties, with ticket prices remaining at $10. Following suit from the 2018 run, funds collected from the in-arena viewing parties will go directly to the True North Youth Foundation.
With Winnipeg's 2018-19 regular season wrapping up on Saturday, April 6th, the Jets will most likely be hosting opening round playoff games on Wednesday, April 10th and Friday, April 12th. However, final season standings will determine Winnipeg's opponent, home-ice advantage and arena availability in the coming days.
More than 120,000 fans attended the nine street parties during last season's three-round playoff run - a number non-inclusive of the 16,345 attendees within the doors of Bell MTS Place for each home game. Even on days in which Winnipeg's beloved Jets weren't even in the city and on the road, in-arena viewing parties occurred in Manitoba's capital, as those same hockey supporters made their way to Bell MTS Place to watch road games on the arena's jumbotron.
With warm weather, cheap drinks, Jets Gear and countless food vendors on site, the whiteout street parties were a huge success. Five massive screens, live bands, and a family area kept the party open for anyone... anyone with a ticket that is.
After hitting maximum capacity in the second round against Nashville, True North Sports and Entertainment decided to issue free tickets for the street parties. That decision did not go over well with the majority of Jets' supporters, but as a way to save their liquor license and maintain peace with the Winnipeg Police, tickets were required upon entrance for the final home games of the playoffs.
The total cost to set up, tear down, and maintain the nine street parties was $2,167 million. True North Sports and Entertainment covered $1 million of those costs, while Economic Development Winnipeg and the City of Winnipeg banded together to cover the remainder.
According to Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth, 250 armed officers of the Winnipeg Police were positioned throughout the Whiteout street parties for the duration of each event. Overtime pay for police totalled a whopping $788,000 over the course of the nine home playoff games.
In each of the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose home playoff games, Winnipeg Harvest also got involved, collecting an onslaught of non-perishable food item donations for Manitoba's largest food bank/distribution centre.
Not only can Winnipeg party, but it can party respectfully. No major incidents occurred over the course of the 2018 postseason. There were zero property damage charges, while only a handful of public intoxication arrests took place during the span of the nine playoff games.
Currently hanging on to first place in the Western Conference's Central Division, the Winnipeg Jets conclude their season with four road games this coming week, taking on the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, before travelling to Colorado on Thursday and ultimately finishing the year off in Arizona with a battle against the Coyotes on Saturday.