Normally, I reserve this space for lesser-known facilities, but I just could not help myself in anticipation for what is to come Monday Night. After four years in the NHL, the Winnipeg Jets will host their first playoff game in the MTS Centre. Get ready for an insane, vocal building and while I know the fans will bring it, I’m curious if this new-ish building will be able to reach the decibel levels that are heard in older facilities like Edmonton and Long Island (both sadly departing).
The fact that Winnipeg is able to support a professional franchise is remarkable and everything is done right here. Every single seat is filled and support within the city and the corporate world completes the formula needed for a small city to make it. As for the arena experience, it makes a pilgrimage to typically freezing Winnipeg worth it. Sitting downtown, the Shed District is growing and more pre/post-game establishments are providing fans enough fill to spend a good chunk of time in a city area that previously struggled. The building is beautiful and it amazingly is able to create a small, barn feel while being modern and new at the same time. With just over 15,000 seats, it goes to show that you do not need a massive space to be successful and the final result of this incredible arena makes both the general fan and high-end one well off.
As great as the building is, the fans are better. As an already terrific market, the loss of the Jets for 15 years just grew this place into an even more hockey mad city. It is almost impossible to find a person leave their seat during play and the unison of the “Let’s Go Jets” chants are perfect. They are creative too…I saw a game on TV here a few years ago where they chanted “Silver Medal” at Buffalo’s Ryan Miller. That hurt me as an American and Sabres fans, but a part of me loved that chant. Now, the inventors of the White-Out, will get to show the hockey world what a real playoff atmosphere is like.