For years, the Winnipeg hockey team has played a key role in attracting thousands of people to the Canada Life Centre.
The building itself has seen its fair share of upgrades, with new seating options and a wider variety of food and drinks. Its owner, True North Sports and Entertainment, spent about $133.5 million on renovations to the arena. This figure corresponds to the cost of constructing the building in 2004.
According to executive chairman Mark Chipman, the focus is on improving the fan experience. Speaking to 680 CJOB, he added that the goal is also to have a successful team, on and off the ice.
“Most of what has been invested would fall into the category of improving the experience. From different seating options to a much wider range of food and beverage offerings…we have a building that is truly up to NHL standards,” Chipman said.
“We really try to be a source of pride for our community.”
Addressing the impact felt by the business in recent years with the pandemic, Chipman said it was also felt by fans, who for a time were unable to watch games in person.
“One of the most heartbreaking moments of the last 12 seasons was being in our building the night we won in triple overtime and ultimately beat the Edmonton Oilers in the playoffs. There was no one there to take advantage of it (because of the pandemic),” Chipman said.
Chipman said renovations are approached by understanding what is most needed. He said with more work done there, everyone can feel the building and arena are even better.
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce President Loren Remillard says the Jets are a top-notch organization. He adds that sponsors are aligning with the team because of the demand it generates throughout the city. This sponsorship becomes a means of making the brand known nationally and internationally.
According to Rémillard, chamber members are sponsoring the team to be part of an “exciting product.”
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“This is one of many sports teams in this community that is attracting attention not only from the local market, but also from markets outside our borders. This is important, especially for companies that have multiple operations outside of Winnipeg,” Rémillard said.
But the president advised not to forget the city’s other sports franchises. Using the Blue Bombers and Sea Bears as examples, he said there is something for everyone in each of those franchises. And the benefits, he noted, are varied, such as the creation of employment opportunities that add to the quality of life of Winnipeggers.
– with files from Iris Dyck of Global.
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