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'Go Jets go!': Winnipeg fans, businesses gear up for whiteout parties as Jets embark on playoff run

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As the Winnipeg Jets prepare to take on Colorado in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, fans and businesses are joining in the fun.

On Sunday, the Jets will face off against the Avalanche as thousands of fans flood Donald Street in downtown Winnipeg for the first Whiteout Party of the year.

“The whiteout parties are such a great economic boost for our downtown, for our local restaurants and bars, and the hotels as well,” said Mayor Scott Gillingham.

The home ice advantage also makes for a sweet start to the series, offering local businesses like Chocolatier Constance Popp the chance to create treats that rise to the occasion.

“We’ve got some puck-shaped stuff, we have all the logos, we have the regular Jets logo, the Heritage logo…the Indigenous logo,” said chocolate shop packager Quinn Joyce.

Some fans are suiting up down to the littlest detail by making customized belt bags.

“I started off by making them just for my family and they got really good feedback,” said Nicole Ellie. “So I decided to sell a few and donate the proceeds to the True North Youth Foundation.”

Other organizations and businesses are also joining in on the festivities, including car dealerships and the Winnipeg Public Library.

While it may not be Donald Street, a couple on Nairn Avenue makes sure to keep their Santa Claus in season – playoff season, that is.

“We’ve got the whiteout going here for the Winnipeg Jets playoffs and I’m hoping to keep this guy up here just a little (past) mid-June,” said Richard Holm.

Meantime, the Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone (BIZ) said its looking forward to welcoming fans to the heart of the city.

“Having these large scale events in the downtown community helps to give people that positive experience in coming downtown,” said Olivia Billson, the BIZ’s marketing, communications and engagement director. “It helps with public perception and it certainly helps with safety as well.”

WHITEOUT ZONE

The Whiteout Zone falls just outside Canada Life Centre along Donald Street, between Portage and Graham avenues. (Jaralyn Salangsang/CTV News)

The Whiteout Zone stretches down Donald Street between Portage and Graham avenues and each party is capped at 5,000 people.

For those looking to get downtown, Bike Winnipeg recommends planning alternate routes and methods of transportation.

“We’re going to have our bike valet out here on Donald just beneath the Skywalk across from the library and City Place,” said Mark Cohoe, Bike Winnipeg’s executive director. “If people are looking to bike here, that’s a great way to come to the whiteouts.”

RCAF FIGHTER JETS FLYOVER

Whether you’re taking a bike, car or bus to get to the game, make sure to look up at the sky – two Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) fighter jets will be flying over Canada Life Centre and the Whiteout Party to mark the start of the series around 6 p.m. Sunday.

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