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'I don't want the Jets to leave': The low attendance at recent Winnipeg Jets games


The Winnipeg Jets are feeling the heat of a home ice disadvantage.

The team is looking for an assist from fans this season, as attendance in the arena reaches an all-time low.

This week’s games against the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights saw less than 12,000 fans fill Canada Life Centre – only 80 per cent of the 15,000 seats available.

Outside of the pandemic, Tuesday night’s turnout of 11,226 people is believed to be the lowest since the team moved back from Atlanta 12 years ago.

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger says the low attendance shouldn’t come as a surprise.

“This isn’t new. This is a post COVID issue, so it's become problematic for the Winnipeg Jets,” he says. “The bigger concern is, what if it doesn't turn around?”

Ryan Blight, a former Jets season ticket holder says he wishes he knew what could bring fans back to the stands. But even he gave up his season tickets this year for the first time since the Jets returned to Winnipeg.

“We were so thrilled when they came back. And this is our first year without them,” he said.

Blight said he has experienced customer service issues recently, but he also hasn’t been feeling passionate about watching the Jets play for quite some time.

“The prices keep going up, but the cast of characters stay the same.”

Dreger says a team rebuild isn’t realistic.

“This organization can't afford to go through a rebuild,” Dreger says. “What they need is the fans and perhaps corporate Canada to embrace the product on the ice, which for the most part is pretty good.”

The team is keeping key players on the ice – such as recently extending the contracts of Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck -- and pushing onward with promotions.

Still, some observers say the real issue is affordability.

“Everything that people are experiencing out there has gone up,” says Evelyn Jacks, the founder and CEO of Knowledge Bureau. “The choices that people are having to make today are real and sometimes at the expense of some of their entertainment.”

Blight said he hopes the organization will make an effort to reconnect with its fan base to regain support from the stands.

“I don't want the Jets to leave. And I just don't know that my money is going to save them,” he said.

CTV News reached out to True North Sports and Entertainment for comment, but they declined to talk about the lack of fans in the stands. Top Stories

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