Winnipeg Jets fans lined up outside Autopac dealers across the province today, hoping to be among the first to get the new Jets licence plates.
"This is an early Christmas present for myself," said Sal Garofoli, one of the first customers to pick one up this morning at Saper Agencies Autopac Insurance on McPhillips. "I pre-ordered the plate and have been waiting for this for a month."
While he doesn’t have season tickets, Garofoli said the plates were the next best thing to show team spirit.
And he’s not alone.
Zivan Saper, the manager of the McPhillips Street Autopac location, said that close to 80 people are on the waiting list to get their plates today, and he expects even more people to walk in.
"They were waiting outside the door for me this morning at 9 a,m.," he said. "We hit [our order of 50] right away.
"When it was first announced and people got wind of it Nov. 15, I got texts at home saying, ‘Put me on the list.’"
Donece Hughes, who works with Saper, anticipates they’ll have to place another order by the end of the day. "I’ve only been here for 20 minutes and it’s the sixth one I’ve done," she said. "Luckily they don’t take too long to process."
With 20,000 vanity licence plates hitting the Manitoba roads, customers like Dorota Haskins, who walked into the Autopac location but wasn’t on the waiting list, should be covered.
"I’m getting one for my dad and one for myself for Christmas," she said. "We’re really big fans. I didn’t get a Bombers plate when they came out, so here’s my chance."
When the Winnipeg Blue Bombers issued their vanity plates, petty theft of the plates was an issue; Jets plates may also be targeted on the roads.
Peter Rolsky, a manager at Fountain Tire on McPhillips Street, suggests installing tamper-proof nuts to deter possible theft.
"They have a centre-locking pin inside, and are a flat head so you can’t grab it with anything," he said. "You need a special key, so you can’t just grab them with a pair of pliers or anything. These should deter [thieves] a bit."
Two packages of two bolts will cost about $10, said Rolsky.
Fans can purchase the licence plates at any Autopac agent for $70.
Regular passenger vehicles qualify. Commerical trucks, motorcycles, mopeds and all other non-passenger vehicles do not.
Owners of Winnipeg Blue Bomber licence plates are still eligible but have to change their plates. As well, front and back plates must match. A vehicle cannot have one Blue Bomber plate and one Jets plate simultaneously.
For specific more information about Winnipeg Jets licence plates, readers can call 985-7000 (in Winnipeg), or 1-800-665-2410 (toll-free outside Winnipeg), or contact an Autopac agent.