Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Big Announcements

There was some excitement in the city of Winnipeg with the announcement that there was a press conference being held by the Winnipeg Jets yesterday morning. The last time there was an announcement that involved the upper management of the Winnipeg Jets we found out that the Manitoba Moose were coming back to the city. What could this press conference hold? Would the Jets be announcing a possible alternate jersey for this season? Were they orchestrating something for the fans? What would be revealed at this conference?

It turns out that the Manitoba Moose will be the primary benefactors of the Jets making improvements to their current practice facility! The Jets announced today that they would be making a $7.5 million investment into their west-end practice facility known as the MTS IcePlex! The 21,000 square foot addition to the east end of the IcePlex will have dressing room space for both the Moose and Jets at their practice facility, office space for the Manitoba Moose hockey operations staff, and storage space and office space for the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy which plays out of the IcePlex and is run by the Winnipeg Jets True North Foundation!

Having been to the IcePlex on many occasions, the facilities they have there currently are excellent for the players, but there's almost nothing in the way of offices or NHL-level dressing rooms for the staff and players of the Jets and/or Moose. The four rinks the IcePlex boasts are solid with some seating for fans, but seating is limited. The restaurant, which overlooks two rinks, is massive, and the food and drink served in the cavernous restaurant is pretty good. However, as stated above, there really is limited room for a professional team as the locker rooms are generic in nature. Office space is almost non-existent outside of the staff that currently run the IcePlex.

It's nice to see the IcePlex getting a little love from True North after playing host to hundreds of practices and training camps on top of the many city, provincial, national, and international tournaments, beer league games, sledge hockey games, MJHL games, MWJHL games, Hockey Manitoba events, Hockey Canada events, and everything else that goes on at that facility.

The second announcement that came from the Jets happened today, and this one is a big one for fans in and around this city. I was driving home and happened to have my local sports radio show on where Mark Chipman, President of True North Sports and Entertainment, was speaking to the hosts where he stated that Winnipeg will indeed host a Heritage Classic game next year and that he would like it earlier in the year!
With that news, let the rumor mill start churning abut who the Jets will play in the Heritage Classic. There's a strong feeling that the Edmonton Oilers will be the team that visits Winnipeg with the history between the two teams starting in the WHA, carrying through into the 1980s with the Smythe Division battles, and now with both teams having solid, young teams.

I'll be honest in saying that I want neither the Canadiens nor Maple Leafs in this game, and the Senators and Canucks just played a Heritage Classic in Vancouver. That pretty much leaves the two Alberta-based teams, and the Oilers haven't played in one since the original Heritage Classic in Edmonton. Will we see an Oilers-Jets Heritage Classic game in December at Investors Group Field? It sounds like it is very likely at this point!

Who would you like to see in the Heritage Classic against the Jets? Perhaps Michael Frolik and the Flames? Maybe hometown boy Mark Stone and the Senators? Manitoban James Reimer and the Leafs? Have your say in the comments!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Peter Santellan said...

The Jets/Oilers match-up would have the most potential, especially with the McDavid kid being in the game. The Flames would be good in the sense that like Edmonton, they have an exciting group of players that haven't hit their prime yet, yet are also already good at this point.