Winnipeggers and local businesses welcome AHL team
Meghan Roberts, CTV Winnipeg
Published Thursday, March 12, 2015 9:21PM CST
Last Updated Friday, March 13, 2015 12:35PM CST
Winnipeg hockey fans will be seeing double next season.
The Winnipeg Jets are moving their American Hockey League franchise team back home, and Winnipeggers are excited at the prospect of two professional teams in the city.
“I don’t think Winnipeg would be hockeyed out with four teams. Two teams will be great!” said hockey fan Peter Vanderspek.
Vanderspek thinks it will be a great opportunity for families to take in more hockey, since AHL tickets are cheaper.
He said he’s already making plans.
“We’re talking about are we going to get a few sets of tickets and chop them up or whatever amongst a few families,” said Vanderspek.
Businesses like Boston Pizza at Cityplace hope the affordable ticket prices will bring more families downtown for AHL games.
“40 more games downtown, and as you can see we cater to families and the sports crowd so this is great for us,” said Courtney Isselg with Boston Pizza.
The team will play 40 homes games at MTS Centre.
Jets General Manager Kevin Chevledayoff doesn’t think scheduling at the busy MTS Centre will be a problem, and said the AHL team will work around the NHL schedule.
But not everyone is convinced the arena will be able to accommodate two teams, plus all the concerts and other events it regularly hosts.
“If they’re going to be using that facility then it might take up some space, especially in the winter time with two teams in there,” said hockey fan Ryan Hookham.
The Downtown WInniepg Biz is excited by the announcement, and expects the new team will draw more crowds and business into the city core.
“We know that a Jets game is filled with 15,000 people and people are dying to get seats. So this is just another opportunity to get people out to the MTS Centre,” said Jason Syvixay with Downtown Biz.
Syvixay said businesses report up to 40 percent more customers during Jets games, and thinks the AHL games will bring similar crowds.
The AHL team will be in Winnipeg for at least a few years.
True North has not yet released the team’s name and branding.