Winnipeg businesses cashing in on Heritage Classic
Flying in from Edmonton for the big games between the Jets and Oilers, old and new, Jason Nedeljak said he's budgeted quite a bit for this hockey road trip.
"Easy estimate, $1000, might sneak up a little bit more. We'll see how the weekend goes," he said.
The NHL Heritage Classic takes place at Investor's Group Field this weekend, with the alumni game on Saturday and the regular-season game on Sunday, between the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers.
Economic Development Winnipeg is expecting the event to draw 8,000 visitors, with spinoffs reaching $5.8 million for local businesses.
Bars and restaurants are gearing up for the influx of hockey fans.
"We're hoping it to be crazy busy. We've got DJ's and live bands all night. We have a tent in the parking lot, so we're doing this big fan fest for the Heritage Classic weekend," said Melissa Ross, assistant manager at The Pint.
Hotel rooms are scarce as the outdoor game approaches.
"Downtown would be pretty much all sold out. Pembina Highway difficult with the game being there, the airport is probably pretty full," said Scott Jocelyn of the Manitoba Hotel Association.
Despite the fanfare, the games are not sold out according to Ticketmaster. The event is out of reach for some enthusiasts like Kathy Lasyk.
"I think it's the price that's keeping people from going,” she said.
But for $10, fans were able to attend an open practice Friday at the MTS Centre, featuring stars from the past from both teams.
One of those favourite sons received a special honour. Mayor Brian Bowman bestowed on Teemu Selanne the key to the city.
"Winnipeg has a really important part, big part of my heart,” said Selanne.
No dollar value can be placed on Selanne's new award, proving there are some things you just can't put a price on.
"To see Dale Hawerchuk and Teemu Selanne put the uniform on one last time will be cool," said Jets fan Dave Bazak.